Monday, December 20, 2010

Passing the Torch

The Christmas season is, for many, "the most wonderful time of the year." Christmas carols fill the airwaves. The neighborhoods are aglow with colorful lights. Shoppers rush home with special treasures to put under the tree.

However, there are some who struggle with Christmas for a variety of reasons. It could be grief over a loved one who won't be present to share the festivities this year. Sometimes, memories of family conflicts during previous holidays cast a cloud over future Christmas gatherings. Others deal with a sense of loss as Christmas approaches due to "passing the torch" syndrome. By this, I mean what happens when younger members of the family step into the Christmas shoes that we have filled for so long.

It's the natural order of things, to be sure, but the first time our home is not the center of family activities at Christmas, it hurts. After all, for decades the senior members of the household have planned and cleaned and shopped and baked and decorated and - wait a minute - maybe it doesn't hurt quite as bad as I thought. Now we have time to enjoy a trip to Biltmore Estate or Opreyland or TBN or some other magical place. We used to flop in bed after cleaning so zealously that any self-respecting germ wouldn't come within a mile, and we decorated in a style that would put Martha Stewart to shame. Instead, now we get to be pampered and have our senses titillated until we think we've died and gone to heaven.

Another perk we enjoy when we pass the torch to the younger generation is that of sleeping late on Christmas morning. No more getting up at 6:00 a.m. to wrestle the turkey into the oven. With casserole and dessert in tow, we leisurely arrive at someone else's house in time to play with the grandkids and great-grands and enjoy more delicious pampering.

Yes, there's no doubt about it, it's a wonderful life indeed, when we're smart enough to pass the torch.


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