holidays, life

Holiday Spirits Beyond

Do you ever have moments of melancholy during the holiday season? I’m not talking about despair over a recent loss. I mean at any time during a regular season that’s going well and as planned. Do you ever get just a split second of sadness? This is probably more common for women, but maybe men sometimes get this, too?

I’m enjoying the holidays as much now as I did when I was a kid, but there are those moments . . .

What moments am I talking about?

It’s when the memory of someone who has long passed comes to mind. For example, simply opening up the boxes of Christmas decorations to put out.

Several of my Christmas pieces were my grandma’s. The pictures throughout this blog are decorations she made herself, and I have so many more. To choose one from the box and hold it in my hands is a time machine trigger. Her house was always decked-out with sparkly trinkets, not to mention all the cooking and baking she used to do.

As I wrote in my memoir anthology, I was a blessed child to grow up with my grandparents nearby. The memories of Christmas’s with them are plenty and heartwarming. Is there ever an age where I won’t miss them? When I turn eighty years old, I’ll still long for their presence at the holiday table.

My mom usually hosted Thanksgiving at our house.

Christmas Eve, we went to my maternal grandma’s. As an Italian-Catholic, grandma didn’t cook any meat on this holiday. Still we left there full and satisfied. Have you ever heard of Pasta Puttanesca? Sauce made without meat. I won’t tell you how the sauce is made, because you might think it sounds awful, but it’s actually quite tasty (it’s searchable). If I liked it as a kid, then it had to be good. The translation of this dish is, Whore’s Pasta (Right? It’s a peasant’s pasta).

Christmas Day was at my paternal grandma’s house where I was always excited to spend time with my favorite cousins. Plenty of meat was served at Nana’s. Maybe some day I’ll share her recipe for fried pork tenderloin. She didn’t put out as many decorations, but boy did we laugh at those gatherings.

All four of my grandparents were friends and came to each others’ homes for gatherings like these and more. In fact, they even went on a vacation or two together.

So yes, I think a touch of melancholy sometimes occurs with thoughts of those spirits beyond. Still, I’m grateful for those still here and look forward to the holidays with them.

Since this post was first drafted, we had a little problem occur in our household. Max, our sweet dog, has some serious health issues. Please send some good thoughts (and/or prayers) his way. Thank you.

The coming two weeks will be filled with activity, so I may not be around the blogging world as much. My warmest wishes to my blogging friends and anyone else who reads this.

Blessings and peace to all.

What, if anything, triggers a melancholy moment for you?

Grandma & Mom bought me this nativity for my birthday when I was a newlywed to use for our first Christmas together.

17 thoughts on “Holiday Spirits Beyond”

  1. Sending Max some good vibes.

    I sometimes feel a bit sad not spending the holidays with my family but they were never that bothered about the holidays and they are all split up so in so many ways the holidays are much better since I met my husband!

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    1. I can imagine getting an occasional pang of missing your family who are all so far away, but I’m glad you’re enjoying them with your husband and little O. 🎄🎅


    1. Hi Joy. I think the holidays can get more melancholy for those who no longer have their parents. It’s especially hard if they left this world around Christmas.

      Thank you for the good wishes for Max. Holiday hugs.


  2. Thinking of Max! I just wrote my blog post for tomorrow on ornaments, and then popped over here. We’re on the same page. Most times I glow during this season, remembering Christmases past, yes, but being grateful for them, But at times I pause and miss those who are gone. My mom is still here but unable to understand much about the season now. I loved her Christmas ornaments – she saved them all for me. But her apartment building had a flood one year and the boxes of ornaments were ruined. Sad to lose them, but they’re still in my heart.

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    1. Ahh, a post on ornaments . . . those can bring about moments of reflection, too. Most people have lost someone that they miss at that holiday table, and moments are bound to happen. It may be difficult not to share in it as fully with your mom, too. Holiday hugs. ❤

      Thanks for thinking of Max. We’re trying a treatment that we hope helps. 🤞

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  3. I’ve been wondering how Max is doing. Any updates? I hope he’ll be okay. It’s the kind of thing that can really put a damper on the festivities when we have worries over our pets. I know how that feels. And as for the moments of melancholy – I’ve had several of those already, thinking of my mom and how she made Christmas so wonderful for us. But I should consider myself lucky to have those memories. Some people have no nice memories like that to get melancholy over. Onward and upward.

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    1. Not having parents to celebrate the holidays with anymore can surely bring about melancholy. I’m sure it feels like something is missing. But you’re right, not everyone has those memories. I’ve known people who lost a parent when they were young . . . very difficult.

      As far as Max goes, he’s been having some odd symptoms, but I thought they were side effects from his arthritis meds. I had to bring him to the vet for an unrelated issue (he broke a tooth), and found out he lost a lot of weight. There was no change in his diet, so we all got worried. Those “side effects” are actually symptoms of something else going on in his system. $600 later, we don’t really have a definitive diagnosis. The tests taken aren’t really pointing to anything specific, but the vet is going by his symptoms and is treating him for Inflammatory Bowel disease (change in diet and a supplement). We’ll see how things go from here.

      BTW, if his health improves, I may email to get advice on something (re: dogs). Right now I’ve got tons going on between getting ready for the holiday, treating Max, and now a broken washing machine! 😫

      Thanks for asking, Anneli. Have a nice holiday.

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  4. You are lucky. I have no memory of either grandmother. One died when I was 3 and the other before I was born. I do miss my mom and all the traditions she had. I do many of them but I still wish she was here to enjoy them with me.

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    1. I think it brings about more melancholy when parents are no longer here to enjoy the holidays with us. It’s always nice to continue the traditions, though, and I’m glad that you do.

      I do feel super blessed that I had my grandparents. I posted a little story about them a long time ago. In case you haven’t read it, and you have a minute, you might find it cute. They were real characters and it is humorous.

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      1. The stories about my dad’s father are hilarious. I was very young when he died so I sort of remember him but not really. My older brothers often stayed at their farm when they were young but they lost it after the depression. All four emigrated from Austria. They were here for 50 years and spoke no English so my family (except for me) is bi-lingual. When they died, it’s like an era changed because no one spoke German in the home anymore.

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        1. I completely understand how disappointing it is when the generations lose the traditions from their home countries. My grandmothers were bi-lingual (Italians), but my parents were not, and neither am I. My grandmothers used to have Italian traditions that I miss.

          BTW, Austria borders Italy, and my paternal grandma, who was born in northern Italy but moved here as a child, used to make a couple of Austrian dishes.

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          1. Oddly, there were no Italian dishes (which I love) in our house. No one had spaghetti or pizza until I was in high school. I had it in the cafeteria and started to make it at home. I love Italian food as much as Austrian.

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