When I was a little girl, Christmas for me was the long-awaited moment when Petit Papa Noël was coming down to bring me several gifts. December 24 was when the Réveillon was done and family members gathered at one house or another to share that special time together. Food and drinks were a plenty, Christmas carols were sung by all and merriment was a blessing. I went to bed that night with the anticipation of what was waiting for me the next morning under the Christmas tree. And of course, the family meal on December 25th gave us a chance to savor this special day together as one with love and happiness.
As I grew older, Christmas enjoyment started at the end of October until January on Epiphany. Music, food, drinks were a constant at everyone’s house. Friday to Sunday were days of fun until December 24 for the great Réveillon and December 25 for church and another dinner. Since I no longer believed that Petit Papa Noël was the bringer of gifts, I accepted my parents as the dedicated providers. Friends started to have more importance because dancing and partying enticed me more and more.
Years later, as a mother, my kids enjoyed Christmas in the manner I grew up, but on December 25th I added games, plays, contests and other fun activities to make it more appealing. All family members knew that December 25th was to be at my house or at whomever offered theirs for that special entertainment. Everyone was to practice their voice because they knew they might have to compete against another one or another group. Gifts were given to winners and losers. Christmas carols were now sung in French and in English to the enjoyment of the elders.
Today, I feel a sense of nostalgy. Christmas is no longer the same. The mood of society has changed and therefore people’s mood has also changed, or vice versa. The bond between family and friends has weakened. People work longer hours and the feel of Christmas is but a memory. Illnesses, drugs, death and income deficit have impacted many and there seems to be no end to these sorrowful times.
And now I ask, can we regroup as families? Can we redress income inequality? Can we lend a helpful hand to our neighbors? Can we bring sunshine to each other without prejudice? Can we smile spontaneously? Can we have a hearty laugh without judgement from others? Can we pour light and love unto those we come in contact with?
Christmas is that moment in time when all is possible.