Dear new family,
I hope you are enjoying the first month in your new home. You may not realize this but you will be celebrating the first Christmas there that’s really been celebrated in about 30 years. You see, my parents bought that house together 40 years ago. They were married, my sister and I were born, and we celebrated our first Christmases there. But then my parents split up in 1984 and since 1985 when my mother moved us to a different house in the neighbourhood that house, the beautiful old house you now call your own, hasn’t had a real family Christmas.
You see, my Dad didn’t get us on Christmas. Dad’s day was Boxing Day.
I used to tell my friends that out family Christmas was a week long celebration – we would have Chinese food from our favourite place on Christmas Eve, and in later years we would open presents that night too. Then on Christmas we would have dinner and probably watch White Christmas. On Boxing Day my sister and I would head over to Dad’s and see the whole Scanlon side of the family – sometimes for the only time of the year. The next day was my sister’s birthday, so there’d be a celebration for that, and then right on to New Year’s.
I have no real memories of living in that house, but I do have memories of sitting in front of a roaring fire in the living room with conversations going on all around me. And I know Dad loved to sit in his designated chair looking out across the room and see this whole family, each one of us at different stages in our lives.
So my Christmas wish for you, new family, is that you too celebrate great family Christmases with a roaring fire and family all around. That you spend summer days out on the porch watching the neighbourhood go by. That young children discover all the secrets of the attic crawl space. That you take advantage of everything that neighbourhood has to offer.
I wish you 40 years of Christmases, every one of them a great gathering of family full of great conversations and lots of laughter.