Christmas Nostalgia

img_0904I recently found out the word Nostalgia is derived from the Greek “noostos –  to return home” and “algia – a painful condition”.  I have also heard it means pain from an old wound.  Any way you cut it, it’s pain from something old. Each Christmas I feel a little bit more nostalgic for traditions or times of Christmas past.  I think it’s a function of growing older.  I can only remember being nostalgic about certain things when I was younger.  In my college years after my mom died, I missed Christmas at my Granny’s house even though that had stopped when I was around 10.

When my oldest child was about three or four I began to long for the days before kids when we’d drive down to see my husband’s family in Louisiana. We usually drove down on Christmas eve, often arriving just in time for a dinner of gumbo and crusty bread.  After lots of talking and wine about half of us would head to Midnight Mass.  After the kids were born we made it a point to always be at our house for Santa.  Often times the hubs and I were putting together toys at midnight or we’d be so beat we’d go to bed long before midnight. I haven’t been back since before the kids were born.  Maybe this year, I’ll go and maybe I’ll take the one or both kids with me.  There was always something so grounding and solemn about Midnight Mass.  It always calmed my chaotic mind.

But, those aren’t the only things I’m nostalgic for. As I get older I find myself getting more and more nostalgic over the little things and experiences I can’t recreate.  I mean it’s just not the Christmas season until I see the Hershey’s kiss commercial where the kisses are ringing like bells.  I miss the malls of my childhood.  They were so crowded with people; everyone did their shopping there.  There was no Amazon and Walmart wasn’t open 27/7.  This was the days of layaway.  I miss Santa at my childhood mall. He looked like the real deal. At least, I was totally convinced. I miss the Kroger cookies seen in the picture for this blog. I had them every year growing up. Now, every year it’s a hunt to see if our Kroger will actually carry them.  The years we didn’t live near a Kroger was heartbreaking. I had friends and relatives send them to me. I miss local attractions from my childhood home in Nashville.  Attractions that no longer exist like the Talking Christmas Tree, Twitty City, and the Dancing Waters at the Opryland Hotel.  Now, I find myself nostalgic for when the kids were little, standing in line on Black Friday for the one gotta have it toy and then staying up half the night to put toys together on Christmas Eve. 

I think all this nostalgia has something to do with how different our last couple of Christmases have been. The kids no longer believe. And, we’ve had quite a bit of last-minute travel. It makes the holiday feel a little thrown together. It’s not really a bad thing. We’ve still managed to have a good time and incorporate some of our family traditions like Tamales on Christmas Eve and Chinese food for Christmas Day dinner.  But, it has been different. This year I’ve been thinking about what Christmas will look like after the kids have moved out but don’t yet have families. Will they want to hang with single friends or will they want to come home?  And, there’s the elephant in the room – aging relatives. I know we only have a few more years with some family members. That weighs heavy. 

In the end, I guess all we can do is count our blessings and enjoy the season and all of the miracles both big and little. Who knows we may be making memories we long for in future years. Only time will tell.

Photo Credit: Me, myself and I.  Not sponsored by Kroger but I will sing your praises all day long if you’d give a sponsorship.  I lurv Kroger.







One thought on “Christmas Nostalgia

  1. My husband and I have had many conversations about this very topic this year. I think, in general, life without rituals is difficult. This is sort of the core conflict of postmodern society with traditionalists. I tell people all the time that childhood is about developing an aesthetic. You develop this litany of things that you find enduring and beautiful in some primal sense. This is one thing the Catholic Church always did well – give people the experience of the transcendent and beauty embedded in the cycles of ordinary life. Even as you lose older generations, younger generations are initiated into these rites and rituals and the magic is allowed to continue. Now you have generations of kids growing up without any serious consideration of traditions, even small ones. And they live in a world of anxiety (another fun word origin for you – anxiety – to be greatly troubled by uncertainties). Instead of experiencing nostalgia, the pain of being away from home, they experience something worse – the pain of not having ever felt at home in the world. It’s one of the bizarre consequences of living in a cultural environment that is defined by change and materialism. Nothing endures, including identity.

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