Christmas of 2003 we were living in Japan, and I found myself trying to find the perfect gift for my 8 year old on her first Christmas away from Georgia. She was enchanted by American Girl dolls. After researching, I found that Gotz was the original maker of the dolls, and I found a beautiful Gotz Elizabeth Cady Stanton doll on eBay. I slipped a note to Santa about the doll and asked if it would be possible for him to deliver it for her. He promised to do his best.
Unfortunately, mail service being what it is overseas, Santa was delayed in bringing the doll for Christmas. He dropped it off when he and Mrs. Claus were on their way to vacation one evening the week after Christmas. The doll was perfect, and the story of her arrival while we were gone to our friends’ home one evening is a happy memory.
Over the years, we have created a new tradition that I trace back to that Christmas. There is inevitably a gift that doesn’t arrive in time. I may or may not have tucked something away and then not been able to put my hands on it on Christmas Eve…..I mean, maybe that’s happened. *ahem* So one year when there were a few things delayed, we started “What You Didn’t Get For Christmas” Day. Most years we celebrate it on or right after the 12th Day of Christmas–often it’s January 6th, Epiphany. It’s become a special tradition. It’s a time that is laid back and fun–it has become less about the gifts and more about the anticipation and the fun of a post-Christmas, once more before we put Christmas away, celebration. (Some years it’s been adapted to “What You Didn’t Give For Christmas” Day, and that was whole new kind of fun!)
I was thinking about What You Didn’t Get For Christmas Day last week when a small business owner wasn’t sure she could get something to us in time. I wrote her back and told her no worries, our tradition had it covered. It actually arrived two days after the seller mailed it, so score a win for the postal service. So now I have the choice to give the gift on Christmas or save it for WYDGFCDay.
But life had other plans. This year has been full of “other” plans, hasn’t it? If you, like us, realize that Christmas may not happen as or when you had hoped for and envisioned, maybe consider planning your own version of WYDGFCDay. (Sort of a Who You Didn’t Get To Be With On Christmas Day…..) Maybe Christmas has to take place later…..next week, next month. The thing that is most important about this day of celebrating the birth of Jesus~Light and Love, and we have been talking about this a lot this week, is who we are with, not when it happens. The love shared and memories made, not the presents wrapped under the tree (or enroute via one of the lettered delivery trucks).
So December 25thmas (as my youngest calls it now) may not be Christmas Day for us. And that is okay. I’ve thought a lot about the years my Fella was overseas at Christmas…..about those who work on December 25th and so their Christmas is celebrated another day–those on the frontlines of this virus who will be working and not see their families on the traditional day. I think about those who are sick and cannot be with the ones who matter most to them while the rest of the world celebrates.
So if your December 25thmas will look differently this year, know you are not alone. I hope that joy will find you no matter what your holidays look like, no matter what traditions you are missing this year. I hope that somewhere, sometime, you are able to make merry memories that one day will bring a smile as you remember them.
Wishing you all merry memory making!
Love to all.