Alas, Christmas observances modified by time

by Dorothy markulis | reporter Published:

"Getting old ain't for sissies."

That was the mantra of my dad, Steve Galati. He was 89 when he died, still living at home -- on his own -- so he knew what he was talking about.

The older I get, the more I realize the wisdom of his words.

Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful to be above the sod, rather than below it, but being a septuagenarian does have its challenges and -- its changes.

Christmas celebrations for one. They leave me torn.

My granddaughter, Nikki, had a fit when she visited and spotted our table-top Christmas tree.

This year, instead of a full-size tree, we opted for a table-top. We resisted as long as we could, but it was just too much trouble hauling that big tree down two flights of stairs from the attic -- not to mention the boxes and boxes of ornaments that went with it. Half of me is relieved we've downsized. The other half is sad.

Christmas gift giving used to be a major deal. I would make a list -- checking it more than twice -- in September and the pursuit of perfect gifts would begin and continue almost to Christmas Eve.

Now, the kids, grandkids and nieces and nephews are grown, and the gift of choice is money. Not much planning involved in a trip to the bank. Half of me is relieved. The other half is sad.

Christmas cookie baking and candy making used to be a major deal. My daughter, Stefani, and I would make 10 different kinds of cookies and five kinds of candies. We would stock the freezer and fill every Tupperware container we could find. Now my cookies and candies are store bought, except what I get from generous relatives.

Half of me is relieved. The other half is sad.

Christmas Eve was really big at our house. All the relatives -- brothers, sisters aunts, uncles, cousins -- would all cram into our tiny house and we would eat, drink and be merry. Now that party has moved on to my niece's house. Half of me is relieved. The other half is sad.

"What's wrong with you?" you may ask. "You can still bake and shop and decorate."

That, unfortunately, is where the down side of getting older enters the picture. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Fortunately, the reason for the season still uplifts my soul.

I may not be wrapped up in trappings of Christmas but I do appreciate its message -- and its promise.

Merry Christmas.


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