I’ll be completely honest here and say Christmas and the weeks leading up to it are pretty bittersweet for me, but then it is for every family who knows there’s going to be one less place setting at the family table when the day comes. Christmas was always my favourite time of year and in someways it still can be but it’s not without it’s difficulties and with Christmas 2010, at the age of 14, I understood what the true meaning of Christmas was when I realised we had a massive piece missing. 8 months prior to this Christmas, in April 2010, my brave big brother lost a battle he could no longer fight. He fought with the muscle wasting illness of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy but on this particular year he grew too tired to continue.
I was 13 when my brother passed away, having just turned 14 in time for that first Christmas without him and it didn’t feel like Christmas at all. There was no tree in our house, no twinkling lights and it all felt quite dark. There were still presents given but it just goes to show that the presents aren’t what matters during this holiday because I didn’t care for any of that stuff, I would have traded it all to have my brother back, and I still would.
This post isn’t meant to be a tale of sadness, but it’s necessary for me to tell in order to explain what Christmas means to me and what it should mean to us all.
Sure, presents are fun, and the bright lights and Christmas trees are a part of it, but there’s too much emphasis on the commercial side of Christmas and the gifts you’re ‘supposed’ to buy, but gifts are minor when you’re missing a crucial part of your family and that’s what that 14 year old learned in Christmas 2010, and it’s why spending time and making memories with the family members around me means so much more to me at Christmas time.
The best present you will ever get is being present with the ones you love.
So, hug ‘em tight, let them know how much they’re loved by you and appreciate that gift they give you, even if it’s a hideous sweater you’ll never wear, it will be a talking point in time to come and a token of Christmas pasts with the ones you love.