Judy Garland got it wrong. You do not 'HAVE' yourself a Merry Little Christmas. 


Merriment, whether Christmas or otherwise is not easily accomplished by being passive about it.

I learned this young from my Daddy. He was an Air Force Pilot, Ops Officer and community builder/business owner after retirement. All that, yet he was never far removed from being one of the kids of what he referred to as 'the poorest family in Goltry, Oklahoma'. 

Daddy and me, my first Christmas


They didn't start that way. In fact, they started out quite well off but something (many family debates as to what, there was a fire, loss of a patent, the stock market crash, a family mental health issue that a lot of us deal with still, but back then was not really handled well), The point was, they basically had nothing.

Nothing but a lot of kids. I'd say a lot of love but I'm not sure about that. The kids loved each other (for the most part, though they all had their issues with Aunt Ileene - who I am middle-named for!) and they adored their mother. The point is, it was a hard life and they did without. 


Alice Ileene Shorter Noland and a few other names after that.
You can just tell she was trouble, but I sure did love her.

Until Christmas. All of them had stories about that began - I don't know how Mama did it... followed by tales of doll babies and toys and food and decorations that they knew there was no money to buy. The stories inevitably ended with a teary-eyed sigh and "We didn't have much of anything but somehow Mama always made a wonderful Christmas."


My Granny and my dear cousin Patje,
I assume at Christmas because they are dressed up
but the absence of tinsel and food make me wonder...

You see, Christmas isn't something you have. It's not even something that's given to you. It's something you make. Make for yourself. Make for your family. Make for others. 

Making something out of nothing was my grandmother's gift to her children at Christmas. They, in turn, made so much out of their lives (and made some pretty awesome kids and grandkids too!). 


My Mom and my sister, Susan, in one of those big family Christmases before I was born. 
We lost Mom many years ago and Susan this past summer. 
She loved Christmas and family and I miss her this year.

My dad joined the Air Force and we lived all over the country. No matter where we were, we made Christmas special. I have endeavored to keep it going in my own home. The year I almost died (Nov. 2018), I came home from the hospital expecting a dark, quiet house. I was so weak (Lost nearly 40 lbs in 4 weeks) I couldn't walk without assistance much less deck them halls. But when I arrived I found my son had done it all. He made a Christmas with that simple act and it warmed my heart and helped me heal.


That is the true secret of Christmas. It isn't bought or staged for a photo op. Christmas is a season, a sensory event, a cheerfulness, the presence of hope. All that takes effort, ongoing effort. And if today you didn't make much of it, that's okay. Make yourself a little time to recharge and remember, 



Make yourself a Merry Little Christmas, now.


 

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