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Christmas in Eternity Springs > Personal Stories

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message 1: by Paula, Moderator (new)

Paula Radell (lady_lovesbooks) | 2103 comments Mod
Please feel free to relate stories about a time when you weren't looking forward to Christmas. If you've ever had that struggle, what turned things around for you? Or are you still struggling?

I'll lead the way by sharing my experience. Claire's story is not unlike my own. For many years, I was a Christmas nut. I couldn't get enough. I decorated everything that didn't move, and a few things that did. I searched for the perfect tree. I made handmade gifts. Baked until I dropped from exhaustion. Gifts were perfectly wrapped and labeled.

Then, for several years in a row, terrible things happened near Christmas - truly terrible things. My cousin's suicide. My dad's struggle with alcohol, then pneumonia, then terminal cancer. Not one but TWO broken marriages. Christmas layaways - from my too-meager budget as a single mother - stolen from the storage building a week before Christmas. A serious bout of depression. And more.

When Sarah was growing up, my spirit returned, because who can't believe in Christmas and love the season when seen through the eyes of a child? But then, the kids grew up and went their separate ways. Ray and I had surgery in 2012 and were unable to decorate or buy a tree -- and worse, we didn't care.

I'm still struggling. But I have to say that Emily's new book made me believe that hearts still heal, when we have love and gratitude. And I have much to be thankful for. So this year, I've resolved to look for that spirit again and savor it when I find it.

message 2: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 669 comments Sadly for me these days Christmas Day is just a bit like a bit different 'weekend' & it's been like that since the boys left hme to join the forces. It improved slightly when the Grandchildren were little & we could enjoy the 'magic' of Christmas through their eyes.
We then lost my Mother on my Sister-in-law's birthday between Christmas & New Year so again that put the 'dampener' on things.
Even though it's been a rough year I'm hoping that this year Mark's Christmas wedding will bring us some joy for once.
We tend to celebrate New Years' Eve/Day because it's my husband's birthday on 1st Jan.

message 3: by Jina (new)

Jina Gibbs | 763 comments My Mom is the epitome of a Christmas aholic. She has a tree in every room each with its own theme and color scheme. At last count her Santa collection was well over 2000. We didnt have much growing up but we were rich with love, the Christmas spirit, baking Jesus birthday cake, caroling, playing the bells at church, going on hayrides caroling and getting served hot cocoa and everyone receiving a paper sack of popped popcorn an apple and an orange and small present. The lights on the house and yard resembled National Lampoon Christmas vacation. In my first marriage it was awkward. His family did not believe in God and Jesus and it always ended in a debate. My father in law told me repeatedly "if there is a God He needs to show himself to me, do some miracles I can see with my eyes and then I will believe. So I did what I could to make the kids Christmas mean something but mostly I wanted the season to hurry up and be overwith so the fighting and tension would be overwith. Then I got a divorce and was a sole custodial parent with no help or support from my ex to help make Christmas special. My first Christmas on my own with the girls we had a beautiful white artificial tree with pink lights. I was broke so my Dad slipped me $80 to get the girls a little something for under the tree. Then I moved to N.C. and met and married my Michael. He went all out in gifts for the girls, sometimes we had a real tree and sometimes not. One year we had a real tree and one day the bark looked like it was moving in waves. Turned out a praying mantis pod had hatched and there was HUNDREDS of mantis babies everywhere, on the tree, on the wall behind the tree and some on the floor. That was kinda humorous since I basically unplugged the tree and took it straight outside then had to vaccuum up the babies. Which were dumped out in the woods later. Lol. The other Christmas that stands out is 2013. Heather was in and out of the hospital the whole year. We made a decision that we would not celebrate Christmas until Heather came home. She was released from the hospital on Dec 23. I had to run out and get a tree and trimmings and a few presents so we could celebrate at least a little bit. Mostly I was grateful, humbled and happy we were all at home together. Christmas will always be magical to me, but sometimes it can be bittersweet when celebrating even while sad about those that arent with us whether by location or by having gone home to be with the Father.
We need to maybe do elfster again or plan a challenge.

message 4: by Paula, Moderator (new)

Paula Radell (lady_lovesbooks) | 2103 comments Mod
I wrote a reply to this days and days ago - but it looks like it didn't actually post. I can't tell you how much trouble I've had with Goodreads lately - reviews that don't show up, then when they do, they don't have the HTML I need to post them to my website...reading dates dropped off....and no notifications of new messages and postings in the group!!

Our craziest Christmas as a married couple was 2012, after I'd had spine surgery in November and Ray had his ruptured appendix a week later. We were barely functional. We bought a 3-foot pre-lit miniature pine tree, ordered all of our gifts online, and basically let Christmas come and go. I have to say it's the most peaceful one I can remember, because we gave ourselves permission to let things go.

There's a valuable lesson in that!

message 5: by Linda (new)

Linda (lindamanthey) | 413 comments Throughout my life Christmas has been tainted by the presence of alcoholism. First with my father, then with my husband.
Six years ago, my husband hit bottom and went into a treatment then joined AA. As a result we had several years of hardship because he had to leave his profession of retail management to relieve the stress that exsaserbated his drinking problem. He was unemployed for almost two years but was able to get a grant to go to school to become a aerospace machinist. During this time we lost our rental home due to our lanlord's foreclosure. We had no money and became homeless. For three years we lived in motels. Christmas was not a happy time for our family. Then last year, on Christmas day we moved into our very own home. We were able to purchase it through a VA loan. It was a most wonderful Christmas. This year we will celebrate Christmas in all it's glory. It's the first time we will have a tree in four years. I am so excited to decorate and cook a big meal for my family.
I am so thankful for all we have been blessed with .
Our family will be together to celebrate the birth of the Christ child and that is the most important thing of all.

message 6: by Paula, Moderator (new)

Paula Radell (lady_lovesbooks) | 2103 comments Mod
Linda, your story is so uplifting and inspiring. I can only imagine how exciting it must be to plan the holiday in your home this year! As the daughter of an alcoholic, in a family of alcoholics, I also found myself married to one for a few years. He never changed; I had to get out. His drinking and smoking led to his death this past March, and I still find myself wondering if anything could have saved him.

I'm so glad your husband was able to triumph over that dreaded disease and I admire your strength for seeing him through all of those challenges.

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