Tonawanda News

December 28, 2011

DELUCA: Keeping Christmas ... all through the year

By Michele DeLuca
The Tonawanda News

— —

It was a holiday behavior my husband brought into our lives from his family. Santa always delivered his family Christmas tree.  

Apparently, along with all the other gifts Santa Claus had to deliver all around the world, the big guy also had the room on his sleigh to carry around a fully decorated tree for my husband’s family.

That meant when the DeLuca children went to bed on Christmas Eve, the living room would be dark and empty. When they woke up on Christmas morning the room would be ablaze in twinkling lights. In the center was a giant tree, dripping in ornaments, looming over piles of Christmas gifts. It was an in-your-face holiday miracle that thrilled them right down to the toes of their footie pajamas.

So, at my house, the next generation of DeLuca boys also had their Christmas tree delivered by the jolly old elf.

As any mother can imagine, this added some hours to my last-minute to-do list. And also deprived me from enjoying a Christmas tree in the weeks before the big day.

But the faces of my boys as they came tearing into the living room to find a glowing tree and a pile of presents helped me understand why my husband loved the tradition so much.

I mean — I honor “the reason for the season” and God bless us everyone, of course — but helping to put that crazy joy on my boys’ faces was kind of like “mommy crack.”

I wanted them to have more of that. But, as we all know, life does not oblige in providing massive quantities of wild-eyed Christmas joy.

Some years, for some of us, the Christmas season seems to begin with a sigh. It’s a holiday that in the worst of times can seem to loom over everything, stretching to near-breaking schedules, “to-do” lists and budgets that are already extended. Then there’s all that baggage from Christmases past that adults carry into each season, sometimes joyful and sometimes incredibly tragic.

But despite all of that, or maybe because of it, the holiday season seems to inspire little miracles and lots of them, no matter what your faith or what you believe.

People are kinder, they do more good deeds and they donate to good causes simply because, “It’s Christmas.” I cannot count the stories I’ve done each day about people in the Niagara region reaching out in so many inspirational ways to those less fortunate.

It’s that side of the holiday season that I want more of in my life.  I’ve taken to leaving my Christmas decorations up longer. The tree goes down mid-January, but the rest of the stuff, the lights and the Nativity scene and the bookcase Santa Claus figure, they go back into the basement boxes a little more slowly. I’m trying to hang on as long as possible to all the good ways this season makes me feel.

As such, when I don’t have time to send Christmas cards, I make up for it by sending New Year’s cards ... as there is a far bigger window for those. And, because I don’t always have as much money as I’d like to place in that red Salvation Army bucket during the Christmas season, I always try to make up for it in the new year.

Because the greatest thing we learn from giving gifts this time of year is that the pleasure goes to the giver.

This very morning, I intend to be sitting in the warm company of my little family, including my husband, my two lovely adult sons and my very young 83-year-old mother. My plan is to count my blessings. And then I hope to pay them forward until Christmas comes again.

Wishing you and yours a day that becomes a treasured memory,

Contact Michele DeLuca at 282-2311, ext. 2263.