Holiday open thread…

11 Dec

I love and hate the Christmas Holidays.  Some years we decorate, some, I can’t be bothered to start pulling out all the boxes, sorting through and picking out what to display.  This year, we decorated.  I had to force myself from putting it off until it was too late, but I’m glad I pushed through and it’s done.

christmas-tree-by-taoIt looks good, the tree is up, the train and village set up, the mantle decorated with Christmas favorites, including my favorite decoration from when I was growing up that is still my favorite.  Doing the decorating pulled me out of myself, and I’m now looking forward to the holidays.

Getting a few days of snow helped, drove away the dull days of constant rain.  Christmas is a holiday for me that holds both good and bad memories, been that way for decades, and some years the bad takes away the joy the season offers.

christmas-snow-by-taoThis year, I need the joy.

I need the carols, I need the feelings music brings to my soul.

Going through mom’s stuff, I had a few things that I wanted to keep, yet if any of them came down to a conflict, the Christmas candle holders and an old tea caddy were the ones I’d fight for.  There wasn’t any fight which was good, but it’s funny when I think about it because I doubt either is worth more than a couple of dollars, but both were priceless to me because of the memories each evoked.  The story about the tea caddy is for another time, the Christmas candle holders is today.

Since I was little and my aunt brought us the Christmas candle holders as a memento from her latest trip, they’ve been part of Christmas.  Five individual candle holders that are simple, small, made of wood, decorated with yarn and paint, designed to sit in front of your dinner table setting. There’s a dad, a mom, and three children.  These very simple candle holders hold so many memories of Christmas Dinners over the years, probably about 50 dinners in total.  The other Christmas table decorations came and went, these remained the constant theme, family.  The small candles were lit just before each dinner, one for each of us.  They’ve always represented joy.  Those times are the memories I hold dear, even if I haven’t found the small red candles yet, there’s still time.


This is first year where it’s just my husband and I.  Then the day my son passed comes shortly after Christmas.  A day when the decorations are still front and center, the good and bad intersect, collide, bring you back to the reality that sometimes life is hard.  We all have good and bad, joy and sorrow, we deal, persevere, continue.

Good and bad times, both woven into who you’ve become, what shaped you into who you are today.  This year when the New Year comes, I want to be pulled into the future, keep the best of the past and look forward with joy.  New year, new day, new era.  I know I can do it.  I want to do it.  I’m ready now.

What’s happening with you this season?  However you celebrate, whatever you celebrate, even if you don’t celebrate, but need a  space to just be, consider this an open thread throughout the season.  Do you have good memories wrapped up in something so simple, naïve, like I do with those five little candle holders?  Share past  memories, what you are doing now, plan for the New Year, whatever you want to talk about, come and post it here.

Stay safe…


Posted by on December 11, 2016 in Adoption


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34 responses to “Holiday open thread…

  1. maryleesdream

    December 11, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    The holidays are good and bad for me as well. Probably for everyone out of childhood. We decorate, and will have a nice big standing rib roast on Christmas Eve. My 4 children and my adoptive mother will be here.
    I honestly do not have any wonderful Christmas memories. I always felt odd around the holidays. I did not like getting presents from my adoptive parents. They were constantly telling me how poor they were, then they would shower me with gifts. I felt guilty and confused.
    I remember being 10, or 11 and sitting under the tree, opening my presents, with Mom and Dad sitting on chairs, watching me. I felt like that little wind up monkey toy, clapping the cymbals together, just performing, mindlessly for the amusement of the adults. I wanted to scream, throw the toys and run away, but of course I did not. I opened them all, thanked them and went on. I had nowhere to run to, and we all knew it.

    So, Christmas past, bad. Christmas present. pretty good!

    I guess this sounds terrible, and maybe it is, but I hope that someday, I can finally have one Christmas without my adoptive mother. It’s all I’ve ever wanted, and I’m afraid sometimes that it will never happen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      December 11, 2016 at 5:55 pm

      Lots of hugs Marylee…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Heather

      December 12, 2016 at 12:26 pm

      Your comment “I had nowhere to run to, and we all knew it” really struck a cord with me. I wish I could give ten year old you you a hug.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lara/Trace

    December 11, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    My a-mom passed on December 9, 2011, Tao. I try and let all that holiday decorating go but somehow this year, I had to decorate and that meant opening up her ornaments and boxes again. It hurt so bad. I didn’t decorate last year at all. The ghosts of Christmas past are with me too. I have a blow-up angel that I’ve had since I was three, I think. It’s out, and I do blow it up every day since it’s over 50 years old. And it does remind me of the best time of the year at our house. It was warm, inviting and full of gifts and relatives and big meals and music. I have to play holiday music to get any kind of spirit of this season. [I am so sorry for your loss, my friend. There are no words for that except sorry.] So please know you are in my heart now and always. We share so much. That is significant. That we share. ❤


    • TAO

      December 11, 2016 at 6:33 pm

      You made me tear up – thank you. It must be hard with the December anniversary, everything seems to just keep getting harder, somehow. I’m glad you decorated though, for some reason, I had to too…hugs.


  3. shadowtheadoptee

    December 12, 2016 at 1:19 am

    Yesterday, I was on my way to play a Christmas party, with the band I play with. It was about an hour from where I live, so, plenty of time to get lost in thoughts. I haven’t spoken to my birth mother in, maybe 5 years. I don’t even give her a lot of thought anymore. For some reason, I began thinking of how nice it would be to just wish her, and the rest of the family, none of whom I hear from anymore, or in years, a Merry Christmas. I just can’t go back down that road, too, much, heartache. Then, I wondered, if she will, once again, as she, usually, does, send me a Christmas card this year.
    It strikes me as strange, that. After over 25 years, everything that’s happened, and not talking for so long, why she keeps doing that? Well, I suppose, she still thinks of me, just like I think of her. Guess we always will.
    Most important right now, it is such a good feeling to come back here, and find all of you, still here, still caring. It’s a family for sure. Hugs all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heather

      December 12, 2016 at 12:22 pm

      Huge thanks from me to you and TAO for creating this space for us to learn and share.

      Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      December 12, 2016 at 2:18 pm

      Many, many hugs right back. You do what is in your best interests Shadow, never doubt yourself.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Heather

    December 12, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    I love the story of your simple candle holders. I imagine when your aunt bought them she had no idea how meaningful (and part of tradition) they would become.

    Christmas is a very confusing time for me. I want to make it special for my children while my heart aches for my missing son.

    I don’t enjoy shopping and would rather give experiences … which don’t wrap well.

    My family had a bad car accident on Christmas Eve 2008 which left me with a permanent mild brain injury. Snow has lost all its fun aspects and just makes me anxious now.

    I want to appreciate every moment of my life yet I am always glad when December is over.


    • TAO

      December 12, 2016 at 2:16 pm

      I’m so sorry Heather…I often wonder why we have dates set aside that are set in stone, bad things don’t not happen because it’s a holiday.


    • shadowtheadoptee

      December 12, 2016 at 4:38 pm

      Hugs, Heather.


      • Heather

        December 13, 2016 at 5:54 am

        Thank you both *big hugs*


  5. Nara

    December 12, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    I absolutely love Christmas. Even though it possibly doesn’t always live up to the hopes. I think in my head it’s still a magical, childlike time and I always think of it with great anticipation and excitement and happiness.

    To me it’s a time for family. And I know that’s complicated by adoption, but to me that means the only family I’ve known. We definitely have frayed tempers and so on, but I think all families probably do. Now we are older and don’t live at home, I like to see my family knowing I can retreat home whenever! And my parents are older now so I’m aware our christmases are numbered.

    Also with my partner we have made our own Christmas traditions. He’s adopted also and we both love Christmas – have done before we met. So it’s extra special to spend it with him and our dog (who loves Christmas for no other reason than extra food!). Next year – hopefully – we will also have our son to celebrate with. So I guess we will make our own traditions and I hope he will love it as much as we do.


    • TAO

      December 12, 2016 at 5:23 pm

      Love your comment! Wishing you the best of the best…

      Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      December 12, 2016 at 5:25 pm

      Do you like Christmas pudding, fruit cake, mincemeat tarts?


      • Nara

        December 12, 2016 at 5:32 pm

        Yes of course! All of those things! From what I can tell, Christmas dinner here is a bit like your thanksgiving dinner in terms of feasting and celebration. We have turkey and “all the trimmings” (which is like enough food for a week!) and then pudding, cake, mince pies, cheese!

        The last couple of christmases we have hosted both sets of parents. It felt really nice to be at that stage to be able to do that. Also quite fun as they’re both in the same ballpark for ages and have shared experiences (adoption!) so they got on well. It felt nice to be able to do that and also to introduce them even though we aren’t married.

        This year because I’m close to being due, I’m not cooking! We are going to my parents. Truth be told, my mum is way better at cooking than I am and it will be nice just to sit back and be fed, haha! Plus their house is like five times the size of ours! We moved house to a tiny place this year so not sure we could host four people there, plus we haven’t unpacked yet! We are so disorganised!!


        • TAO

          December 12, 2016 at 5:39 pm

          That’s what our Christmas Dinners were too – both Grandma’s immigrated from England. It was one of the two days of the year when mom cooked meat. She did have vegetarian versions of the mince and pudding and her fruit cake was amazing, lots of cherries…

          Oh and Christmas Crackers so we could wear silly hats…



          • beth62

            December 22, 2016 at 4:27 pm

            My grandmother used to make fruitcake, she would soak cheesecloth in red wine and wrap the cake in it to keep it from getting dry. She never drank one drop of alcohol in her 99 years, and never danced either…
            I always thought it was so funny seeing her with that bottle of wine, it was a big deal. I’ll never forget the smell of that fruitcake, it was so good.

            Liked by 1 person

  6. Dannie

    December 12, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    I love Christmas…..always have…..I’m a little not as sensitive as some others so it wasn’t until years later, that i knew my folks were poor and gave me everything they could…..partly why i ended up being an only child….my folks wanted christian schooling and with two there would be no way they could afford it even with church subsidized help.
    I love making Christmas special for my kids…..I think I try to do so much like how my brain remembers my mom doing around the house and I feel I fail miserably….
    I also miss my mom reading “christmas in my heart” every season….they are probably in the 20th and above season now, so 20+ books of nothing but christmas stories that all make me bawl (so a new book every year…i’m thinking i was a tween when they first started coming out)….I guess as i get older i cry more lol. since I didn’t marry til I was 34, I spent 33 christmas’ just hanging out with my folks even after adopting E……lived just a mile from them and would spend nights over there……I miss the stories most of all. with kids and work I don’t have too much time to read or just lounge on the couch hearing mom read.
    My husband misses his family since they are mostly in WI so he gets depressed during the holidays and it makes me mad…..and sad…..he has every right to have his feelings but at times I feel resentful that he doesn’t appreciate the holidays like I do and I feel I’m the one that provides all the joy in the home. This year I’ve just let that go and he can be him and I’ll do me and not let him bring me down because it’s still my favorite time of the year.
    We haven’t had any deaths around any holiday season so in that aspect I don’t get the bad feelings…..although my mom says she hopes when it’s her time, that she goes peacefully during Christmas day…..I always tell her I hope not…..E loves the lights…..S just turned 3 right before Thanksgiving and this is the year he is all excited about Christmas so it’s a joy to watch. I think we drove round the same neighborhood with synchronized lights to music for over an hour last night while the kids just sang and talked of Santa and Jesus and all that…..


    • TAO

      December 12, 2016 at 10:30 pm

      My favorite movie is Alistair Sims – A Christmas Carol. Probably the only one I watch regularly…

      Christmas lights are the best. Right now we have snow, more snow, and snow, so they’re really pretty.

      Do the best you can. Find a tradition that always happens…

      And there is always a Grinch…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dannie

        December 12, 2016 at 10:35 pm

        I think I laughed out loud with the grinch comment LOL

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Dannie

    December 12, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    oh and I watch christmas movies…..only the ones that make me cry like a baby…..comedic ones I don’t do.


  8. beth62

    December 13, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    Rudolph is my favorite christmas misfit movie 🙂 I can only sit thru it once a year, but the little ones still love it, as old as it is. We watched it friday nite, after making messy cookies, one of my favorite nights of the year. Then, if any are still awake Uncle Grandpa reads The Night Before Christmas. He sounds (and looks like Grandpa Walton now LOL) Then the old Grinch steals all the food and cookies and goes home! I’ve always loved this night, puts me in the peaceful spirit.

    We should have a spectacular barn wedding on Christmas Eve. A New Family Christmas Day. Then several of us go to stay at my mountain shack and over the hill to Dollywood for their honeymoon. Hoping the weather cooperates!

    That’s just not enough tears for the season, of course we can’t get thru it with out the difficult stuff too. My old dog died sunday, he was 12 and a very special guy to many. My best bud over the last several years, he went everywhere with me, such a good boy. My son’s boyhood dog, he was Ol’ Blue’s boy. He had a good and happy life, never tied up or fenced in, he got to swim in the river everyday, run thru the woods, play with dozens of boys, and flirt with all the pretty girls who loved him so. He was known to sleep with boys, cats, bunnies and goats, herded them all and kept them safe. I called my son when we got the bad news at the vet, in no time there were 9 of Ol Blue’s Boys, all grown up, there with him as we said bye. Quite a sight, we used every tissue in the place. Planning a ceremony for him next weekend. Lots of Ol Blue, you good dog you, stories to tell 🙂


    • TAO

      December 14, 2016 at 3:22 pm

      Love your comment – love, love, love the idea of a barn wedding Christmas Eve, new family Christmas Day. My first marriage was going to happen New Years Eve but one or both sets of parents were going to be gone…and I was young and changed the date…


      • TAO

        December 14, 2016 at 3:23 pm

        I think loosing an animal friend is hard anytime, holidays even worse, I’m so sorry.

        Liked by 1 person

        • beth62

          December 22, 2016 at 1:11 am

          You are right, it’s never easy. Takes a while to remember they are gone, keep forgetting, I hate that part. I’m good now, it’s been awhile. My guys make me feel like a hard coldhearted b. LOL.
          Had to remind them this was Ol’ Blue #4 for me…

          They have scheduled the dog ceremony 3 hours before the wedding. So all will be here, and dressed for a Christmas Eve wedding. Fanciest dog funeral in town I bet 🙂 I swear it’s becoming more detailed than the wedding, and nearly as many guests!


      • beth62

        December 22, 2016 at 5:41 pm

        The new queen is supposed to be delivered down the isle to the altar by one old white horse and carriage. I know she has lovely visions in her head……..
        much, much different than the visions in mine!!!!!


  9. cb

    December 14, 2016 at 11:35 am

    I posted a long rambling post on here a few days but lost it (internet connection went down when posting). So this post will be shorter.

    I’m on the other side of the world – it is summer here. When it comes to childhood memories of Christmas, I don’t really have any distinct memories of any particular Christmas, just snippets here and there (eg I can remember we usually had a roast lamb dinner with fresh peas (I just remember that because it was my job to shell them (and eat a few on the sly)). In general, childhood Christmases seemed to be either at home or with the aunts in NZ (also once with an uncle over here).

    As an adult, mostly they’ve been spent either 1) at sisters, 2) eating out, 3) working on Christmas Day or 4) spent on my own (I would usually buy something to roast on Christmas Day). This year it is at my nephews place as he is now a dad to a little girl (since just after Christmas last year). Sadly, my younger brother passed away last year and it is unlikely big brother (big sister’s twin) will attend (who knows with him). Anyway, it should be nice enough and hopefully the weather isn’t too hot (for some reason it is often overcast at Christmas, it often also isn’t overly hot (the hottest time of the year is actually usually February.

    Anyway, I’ve yet to buy any Christmas presents (we are basically only buying for the 1 year old) – I’m thinking of getting her a little moonchair that she can take with her on picnics – I suppose that is a weird present but I just remember one of my favourite presents being a chair (yes, I’m weird lol).


    • TAO

      December 14, 2016 at 3:30 pm

      I think that’s why the little ornament family means so much – it was there every year, plus, she’s my favorite aunt…

      We don’t do presents, although, this year, I’m thinking of venturing out and finding my husband a sippy cup as he keeps knocking over his tall glass of pop onto the wood coffee table. If I can find a fairly large sippy cup, he’ll get a present.

      I expect his friend to come for dinner as he doesn’t have a lady friend this year, and I’ll cook them (and cringe the whole time) a roast beef dinner with mashed potatoes, gravy, Yorkshire pudding, and several vegies (for me mainly to take the place of the beef). Then some type of desert so we can all flake out and just be…


    • beth62

      December 22, 2016 at 4:05 pm

      Cb, I still have my little baby rocking chair, so does my daughter, she still has her Christmas bear too, and both are in her living room now, 30 years later 😊. I think you can’t go wrong with a chair. I hope not anyway, I got one for the baby. LOL and a bear!
      Glad to hear you get to share with family this year. Sorry to hear about your brother 😦 and I hope your other bro shows up. That is, if you want him to!
      I’m not sure I’d know what to do with a warm weather Christmas, no Christmas hats, gloves, sweaters and scarves? Spiced cider, hot chocolate and a big fire? Guess I couldn’t wear my heavy long red velvet coat with a white fur collar and hat to match… That would take some adjustment for me.

      Peas are my spring out-in-the- garden snack, few make it to the house. I will have to cook peas for Christmas dinner in your honor, and think on what it would be like to have Christmas here in May!


  10. shadowtheadoptee

    December 14, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    Oh my goodness, Beth, you live near Dollywood? I was so close to you. I was in Nashville last month for some music stuff. We left there heading to SC, and the in-laws, because we were so close, sort of. The fires? Yu near them?
    Speaking of the Grinch. I’ve, always loved that show. This year, the previews kept saying, 50th Anniversary”. Shock! Horror! What? I’m older than the Grinch!!! I had no idea. Too funny. Are you guys laughing, cause you should be.
    I’m loving reading about all your Christmas things, and stories. OH, and I love, love, love fruit cake. My Christmas tradition is a box of chocolate covered cherries, all to myself. It’s the only time of year I eat them.
    Finally, the Christmas card from E came today. I don’t get it, but, I think, I wold have been disappointed if a card didn’t come. Go figure?


    • beth62

      December 22, 2016 at 12:52 am

      Shadow, I have a place on the other side of the Great Smoky Mountains, not too far of a drive. I haven’t seen the damage in the area yet, my shack, and it’s certainly a mountain shack LOL, didn’t burn. But I hear part of my side of the mountain down in the bottom did. Hoping it burned up all the kudzu there, maybe I can use that land now, or at least be able to see it for a while!

      I’m glad they decided to go there, I took our tiny mama and baby to Pigeon Forge to shop at all the outlets last year, I know that’s why she really wants to go back there LOL And to show the baby all the christmas lights too, of course.

      I gotta say, I’m just so proud of Ms Dolly for all she’s done to help her neighbors. I have no problem spending so much money on our Dollywood trip. It’s expensive! But it doesn’t sting so bad seeing all she’s done. My guitar playing husband is excited too, he knows musicians in the area, so I know what he will be doing 🙂

      Older than the Grinch, hahaha, better to laugh than cry!!

      I’m pretty sure they must put heroine or crack in the green and red M&Ms.
      This happens every year… I’ll need rehab soon… arrg, why do I always get the big bag!!


  11. shadowtheadoptee

    December 22, 2016 at 11:29 pm

    Just want to wish all of you a very, Merry Christmas. Love you guys. Thanks for always being there.



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