As I think about the holidays it strikes me that we experience them through all our senses: smell, taste, touch, sound, and sight. The smell of fresh pine and our favorite cookies cooling on the counter. Adding our personal touch as we wrap presents. Hearing familiar music in the stores, in our homes and at our children’s concerts. Enjoying a special treat that you only have at this time of year (eggnog? Grandma’s ginger cookies? That cheese ball that only comes out in December?) And I hope that many of you enjoyed the sight of the Children and the Arts Lantern Parade in Peterborough on December 2. That was truly a sight to behold.
Family memories created through ornaments
The season brings with it many memories. Some are sweet and some are bittersweet. As I put up the ornaments on our tree each year, I am flooded with memories. So many of the ornaments have a story. The star my father made as part of his occupational therapy recovering from his World War II injuries. The Swedish ornaments including the Tomte and Swedish flag garland (Dave’s heritage). The lobster buoy in red and white, because yes, you need to give a nod to my heritage as well. There is the wooden apple that our firstborn thought was a real apple and her tiny teeth marks are evident. The handmade ornaments made by the girls, the ornaments from our travels, the gifts from friends. Almost all have a story.
Family memories created through cookies
The year my mother died after suffering from severe dementia for years, I worked through my grief as I baked for my family. As I pulled out the traditional recipes, I remembered my mother in her best years. I remembered her humming as she baked her cookies, letting me choose the cookie cutters from the big tin, the very tin where I still keep the cookie cutters. I made her macaroons, Needhams (a Maine candy recipe using mashed potatoes), the peppermint meringues. I made them in her memory with joy and the pain of her last disease faded.
Remembering the gifts of the holiday season
Wherever we spend this holiday season, whatever our traditions, whoever we are with, there is beauty to behold, peace to absorb, and people around us to cheer. As we look around we will find we have a smile we can give, a moment to share, a friend to embrace.
Happy Holidays to all of you from all of us at The River Center. www.rivercenternh.org.
ABOUT THE Author
Margaret Nelson serves as the Executive Director at The River Center. She is the heart and brains behind our family and community resource center and the driving force behind our center's mission to create a stronger community by strengthening families. She lives in Dublin, NH with her husband. Their grown children live in Durham, NH and Durham, NC and they are grandparents of six!