So many people get depressed over Christmas. They expect much, and are crushed easily by the real behavior of their relatives.
I have been fortunate to be not too stressed by the holiday. My father was in the hospital one Christmas, but even that was manageable. We celebrated a few days later, when he got out of the hospital.
I try to concentrate on small things. Christmas Eves have always helped. Christmas Eves are a big deal with Italian families, and my family was no different.
When I was a kid, my aunt would stay with us overnight. We would pick her up at her house in Oneida, New York, and take her back to ours in Syracuse. Much could happen on these trips. One night, we went to Oneida in a near blizzard. Driving down the road, you could see a barrage of snowflakes coming at you through the headlights.
On another, we were heading back, with my aunt in the car, when we passed a secluded farm near Canastota. Just as we drove past the farmhouse, we spotted a man dressed in red getting into a sleigh. My aunt talked about this for years. She said that he was Santa Claus.
When we were back home, I would put on records. Among them was always Bing Crosby’s Christmas album. Recorded back in the 1940’s, this album is still the best of all time. We also had eggnog and meatballs. I’m particular about meatballs. My father made these meatballs as our Sicilian ancestors had made them, and they were far better than anyone else’s meatballs. I defy anyone to prove otherwise.
Much has changed. My father and aunt are gone. But on Christmas eve, I still do the old traditions. I put on Bing Crosby, if now on CD, and drink lowfat eggnog. My wife and I make meatballs the old Sicilian way.
So here’s wishing everyone a good holiday. I hope that people will be less stressed about it. And it would be nice if we had a Christmas on which the world was actually at peace.