Christmas Past: It was one of those family Christmas holidays, the kind that makes you no longer care about family Christmas holidays. Traditionally, my role was to set up the artificial tree and string the lights. My mother would then organise a tree-decorating party complete with family, friends, bells, tinsel, angel hair and Christmas cheer. At the end of the holidays, my mother would remove the decorations, and I would store the tree for the next year.
It was a particularly frantic Christmas holiday: my parents were not getting along, the alcohol consumption meter was on overload, and bickering, pestering, and petty rivalries were in full swing. Each family crisis was supplanted by the next in a nightmare of unseasonable behavior. What is it about Christmas that brings out the worst in some people?
There was no tree-decorating party that year; my mother decorated the tree by herself. I could have helped, but I was too busy living in my own little world and it hadn’t occurred to me that I was the only family available that year to help with the decorations. I was glad when the holidays were finally over, and I could fulfill my responsibilities by packing the tree away for the next year.
It was a fitting end, I suppose, to the Christmas of little cheer when I lost my prized Tiger’s Eye ring. As a crystal, a Tiger’s Eye promotes harmony and balance while releasing anxiety and fear. So much for that theory, I thought, as I searched the house from top to bottom for my missing ring. I was glad the holidays were over.
Things settled down by the next Christmas. There was a spirit of reconciliation in the air, and I was looking forward to that year’s celebrations. The previous year’s despair gave way to a glimmer of hope. With guarded optimism, I set about unpacking the family Christmas tree when I heard a “clunk” as something dropped to the floor – it was the Tiger’s Eye ring that I had lost the year before. The ring must have been caught on a branch when I was packing the tree. Perhaps it was a good sign of things to come. That Christmas was a good one, and as Christmas holidays go, it was certainly better than the few that preceded it.
Unfortunately, Christmas is but once a year. Alas, my parents eventually separated, siblings divorced, friendships weaned, and I managed to lose the Tiger’s Eye ring yet again.
Christmas Present and Future: I stopped decorating for the holidays many years ago. Other than a wedding band, I also stopped wearing rings, but for some reason, this year, I decided to go on a hunt for my missing Tiger’s Eye. I didn’t find it, but I did find four other misplaced rings: a birthstone, a graduation ring, a pinky-ring with a black stone of unknown origin, and a cubic zirconia diamond that belonged to my father. But no Tiger’s Eye. Perhaps my Tiger’s Eye is lost forever, or perhaps it is still waiting to be found.
Whether it is nostalgia, a sense of loss, or just the aging process, but for some reason I find myself reflecting on my role of Christmas past, along with the memory of family and friends no longer with us. Not all memories are positive, but then again, there were some happy family times along the way. Maybe next year I will dig out the box of Christmas decorations that have been stored for many years. You never know what I might find, perhaps my Tiger’s Eye ring or possibly the lost spirit of a pleasant Christmas past.