By Annabel Aidan
We always think of ghosts around Halloween, but the holiday season around the Winter Solstice is another time when spirits walk the earth. Remember Jacob Marley’s ghost in Dickens’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL? He showed up during the time of year with the longest nights and the shortest days.
We bring in live greens, use candles, lights, fruits, berries, and things that sparkle to remind us of the abundance and light that will come again. We give each other gifts not just to show appreciation, but to share during cold, dark nights of the year. We send cards to let those far away know they’re still in our thoughts. We donate to food banks and toy drives, and answer Letters to Santa, following a long tradition of community sharing through the season where little grows and little will grow until the sun returns to full strength.
By sitting around the fire and sharing well-loved memories of departed loved ones, we keep their spirits close to us. Have you ever spent an evening in joyful reminiscence, and it feels like your loved one is back in the room with you? So often “ghost” has a negative connotation, but it doesn’t have to mean something sticky and ectoplasmic that frightens you. It can be the light kiss of a pleasant memory, that instant of connection, although the person (or beloved pet) is long gone.
This year, when you decorate for the holidays, why not add photographs of friends, family members, and pets who are no longer with you to the mix? Use festive frames, or those lovely small frames that turn photos into ornaments. You could even create a small “Memory Tree” with only photos and mementoes from loved ones. Set aside a special candle that you light each night, from the Winter Solstice through Twelfth Night (January 6), in memory of the departed. Remember the joy of the individual’s presence, and use that to enhance the joy of the season.
Sit around together and read a Christmas story -- whether it’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL or THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS or a holiday story by a modern author whose tale warms your heart.
Loss of loved ones is always difficult, and leaves a hole that can’t be filled. Yet, by using this season to focus on the positive memories, you craft new family traditions that link the past to the present to the future. It will feel like generations share the room together, in joy and love.
About the Author:
Champagne Books: www.champagnebooks.com
Blog (as Devon Ellington): Ink in My Coffee
Twitter (as Devon Ellington): @DevonEllington
Leave a comment to win a PDF copy of the romantic comedy “Just Jump in and Fly” (under the Ava Dunne name). When a handsome Kris Teague and his Uncle Nick crash a sleigh and eight reindeer into Susanna Wright’s driveway, it takes a bit of convincing that they’ve got to turn back the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in order to save not just Christmas, but the world.
This was a limited edition story written and published for family and friends, which will be published and released in time for Yule 2012. Today’s copy is a copy of this special first edition, before wide release.