Jon Schmidt | Jon Schmidt Christmas | Christmas Medley
This year was the best Christmas that I have had as an adult. Those who know me well know this means something. I have spent many years under the shadow of what we call “the curse”. Life wasn’t always this way.
The holidays of my childhood contain many warm and fuzzy memories, and Christmas was always a high point of the year. Taking turns opening gifts and laughing with my sisters. Years of singing in the church pageants, and then later, years of laughing at the video footage. Our blazing fireplace, sledding in the backyard, cutting down our own tree. Friends cross country skiing to our home when an evening storm made the roads too difficult to pass over. There was the semi scarring year that my mother & stepdad made us think that strategically rolled up pieces of fresh fudge was the dogs poop, and proceeded to horrify us by eating it (I still can’t look at fudge the same). I can fondly recall my first Christmas with my father & Jewish stepmom, and the exact dancing motion she made as she placed a topper on a tree for the first time. A few years later, I remember waking in the middle of the night to hear them wrapping gifts, their first attempt at playing Santa, and putting on a grand performance the following morning so that they would not realize I figured out the Santa thing a long time ago. We never had much by way of presents, but we had so much love, so much joy.
Circumstances changed as I got older. For a long time, “the curse” seemed fixated on my birthday. I associated September 11 with awkwardness for many years before I associated it with tragedy. Since 2001, I couldn’t tell you what specifically birthday related has gone haywire… it doesn’t seem to matter in the grand scheme of things. Instead, my curse seemed to spread across other major holidays. Deaths, divorce, financial hardships, health issues… you name it, I’ve likely experienced it over the last 10 years. This year, something turned around. Aside from a very public, embarrassing, and (almost makes it worse) completely sober St Patty’s day battle between my clumsy body and the sidewalk of Boylston street, I’ve made it through every holiday this year unscathed. No holiday better explained the contrast between this year and my personal state of mind than Christmas and the days leading up to it.
Truth be told, this weekend held nothing spectacular, at least by our current societies standards. Black Friday & the obnoxious consumerism that we are faced with deeply upsets me, so we stayed away from the insanity of shopping. Some gifts and cards were exchanged, but this year friends and family have all needed to place thoughtfulness & subtlety over grandeur. I would have loved to see the Holiday Pops or The Nutcracker, but I have many more years in Boston to save for a pricier excursion. However, this Christmas was so full of peace. This was the first Christmas out of 5 as a married couple that James and I were able to buy a tree, which was delightful. Decorating was so much fun that it didn’t matter how sparse the tree was underneath. When the pangs of envy popped up , it was easy to simply sign off of facebook, or turn off the news, and remember how blessed we were this year. Unlike the toy catalogs of my youth, we pulled out my new favorite catalog of the holiday season, WorldVision, which yearly gives us the opportunity to bless others, and puts our own lives into perspective. I don’t know about you, but a worldview check is something I’m in need of as I wrap up another year.
I look forward to future holidays where life allows a little more sparkle and splendor, but this year, the simplicity of our day was just right. We cooked (a lot). We snuggled. We spoke to people we loved. Watching movies, cracking jokes, and reading for hours, we were able to simply be. After a wonderfully crazy year, not much more was needed.