Typically, at Christmas time I get together with family. Usually, our gathering consists of a group of my aunts, uncles, and cousins. With COVID decimating the country, we haven’t done that in the past few years.
When I was young, I loved Christmas. It was something to look forward to every year – a truly blessed occasion.
After my parents divorced, my father disowned me. That left me in my mother’s care, although she didn’t really want me. She just didn’t want my father to have me.
My mother had decided to convert to a different religion, which is her prerogative. However, she tried to force me to change religions with her. That is inexcusable.
My mother refused to let me celebrate Christmas. When I bought a Christmas tree, she said I couldn’t bring it in her house. If I didn’t participate in her religious ceremonies, I was sent to bed without dinner. I spent many nights hungry.
As you can imagine, Christmas in those teen years was pretty disheartening. It felt like I was isolated on a prison island – all alone, with no rights.
Christmas changed for me when I moved in with one of my uncles and his family. My cousins were still young and impressionable. I remember staying up into the wee hours of the night helping my aunt and uncle wrap Christmas presents for the kids. I felt included. I could picture the delight on my cousins’ faces as I wrapped each gift. There was joy in the air.
When I became a father, I felt that same kind of delight as I shopped for presents each year. I remember how much I enjoyed Christmas as a young child. To this day, as I pick out gifts for my kids, I try to envision what will inspire feelings of maximum joy.
My kids don’t live with me anymore. This year, the holiday will consist of me and my cat Sweet Baboo hanging out watching Christmas movies.
While that might not be as exciting as spending the day with my kids or getting together with my extended family, I’m content.
My family members are all healthy and safe. That’s all that really matters. Knowing that, I can relax and enjoy the day.
I wish everyone the happiest of holidays. Whatever you celebrate, I hope it is rewarding and joyous.
Peace. Love. Trust.
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