Ghosts of Past Christmas Eves

Dec 24, 1977
I’m alone in the house.  The tree is decorated and I think it’s gorgeous; it’s the first Christmas tree I’ve ever had. The day drags on as I wait for my roommates to return from family obligations; I’m the only one with no places to go.

Evening comes and the 3 of us are back for dinner.  We make ham, mashed potatoes, and green beans. I’ve made a pie for dessert.  It’s not fancy food, and looking back I realize that we were not yet the most skilled of cooks, but that meal that day was a first; the first time I’d ever participated in Christmas in a house where I lived.

Dec 24, 1982
I’m feeling emotionally alone. There is a small tree, more of a shrub, on the coffee table; it was our compromise. I have a 6-month-old baby who doesn’t yet sleep through the night.  My marriage is not doing well; my husband spends far too much time out at bars, seeing bands, hanging out with friends.  This was supposed to stop when we decided to have a baby, then when we got pregnant, then when the baby was born.  I realize now it will never stop.  I’m working 3 nights a week from 5 to midnight in an industrial kitchen.  It is hard, physical work and just adds to my exhaustion.

We’ve invited friends over for dinner.  I will cook the entire dinner, and do all the clean up afterwards, while caring for the baby in-between.  I am deeply unhappy, but mostly tired.

Dec 24, 1992
I’m alone in the house.  There’s no tree; a few Chanukah decorations are still up, but that holiday is over.  My daughter is at her Dad’s house celebrating Christmas with him.  Deciding on the holidays was easy when we divorced; she will spend Thanksgiving with me, Christmas with her father.

I’m not sad or depressed; Christmas never was my holiday.  I’m watching old movies on TV, cooking a nice steak for dinner with a bottle of red wine.  There’s a fire roaring away in the fireplace.  It’s peaceful and quiet.  The next day I’ll go to a friend’s house for dinner.

Dec 24, 2004
I’m not alone.  It’s my first Christmas with Rick.  My dad is in the hospital having heart surgery.  Rick and I sat with my Mom in the hospital all morning. We were planning on spending Christmas with his family, but he’s told them he’ll be with me instead.  When the all clear comes from the surgeons my Mom suggests we should leave.

It’s a strange Christmas Eve.  I’d grown used to being alone, having my nice meal and watching old movies.  Instead of my peaceful, quiet reverie, I spent the morning worrying about my father, and then off to a family I barely know.

Dec 24, 2013
I’m alone in the house.  There is no sign of Christmas, apart from the cards resting on the mantelpiece.

I’m back to the same Christmas Eves I had for the past 35 years, but I’m not the same person.


One thought on “Ghosts of Past Christmas Eves

  1. Hmmm … you;ve made me ponder and I have so many questions.
    When I first read 1977, I immediately thought that you didn’t have a home that celebrated Christmas and I was sad (from a secular perspective). Then it came to me that you may be Jewish. This was confirmed (I think) when I read 1992.
    !982 just made me angry … I hear this story all too frequently in my Women’s Health practice.
    1992 sounded nice … peaceful and quiet.
    I hear you say that you are back to the Christmas of the past 35 years … and I know you miss Rick.
    I send thoughts for peace of mind and heart for you, and a happy, healthy 2014.

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