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Holiday time

December 14, 2015
by Kathleen Mears
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I have fond memories of my growing up years when the holiday routine for every Thanksgiving and Christmas was the same. But during the many years I have lived in nursing homes, my holiday celebrations have constantly changed. I had to get used to different traditions and realize they make my life more interesting.

For most of those years, my sister and I celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas on a day other than the national holiday. It was easier and less stressful that way. Some years I bought "little something" gifts and other years I bought more significant gifts. I do like to see the light of delight when someone I care about receives an unanticipated something.

A few days ago my sister came for a few days after Thanksgiving visit. Being the older sister I remember taking my little sister Christmas shopping for the first time, when it was a challenge to keep Janice and her Christmas money together.

As we strolled through a big-box store a few days ago, I told her I was not putting up my lit wreath this year. I thought it had become too much of a hassle and I no longer wanted to stress about it. I told her I wanted a red or green, flameless candle to cheer up my room.

Finding no flameless candles, we headed to a dollar store to pick up a couple of items. As I came through the door, I pushed my joystick too hard and almost bumped into a Christmas display. Janice walked past me and made a beeline down an aisle. Not knowing where she was going, I followed her. She took a box from a shelf and I could see it contained a small tree, and winced. Then I thought, maybe she wants this for herself.

Janice pulled the tree from the box and was admiring it – saying how cute it was. She told me it was Plexiglas and therefore shatterproof. She said it had LED lights which changed colors, dimmed, and brightened; and that it was battery operated. Just as I said, "I have no room in my room for a tree". She said, "This will look great in your room!"

Janice told me she would set it up for me, and I nodded in the affirmative. The tree cost $8 and was the only one in the store. Janice checked out and we left.

When we got back to my room, Janice set up the tiny tree. In the low light of a gloomy late November afternoon, the tree took on an aura. It resembled a small ice carving, lit from the inside. Mystified that it conveyed so much Christmas spirit, I said, "An angel must have put on that shelf for you to find.”

The tree adds festivity to my room and many staff members have commented about it. Janice liked it so much she stopped at the same name dollar store across town, and picked up the last three there for her Christmas table. Sometimes the best gift is not necessarily planned or well thought out. This year it was an inexpensive decoration we happened upon.



Kathleen Mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...