Ever since I put up my Christmas tree Thanksgiving week, memories of past holidays have been flooding in. In past years, there have always been a few tears mixed in with the smiles as I recall the history of each ornament. In this extraordinary year, these memories have been bringing more sadness than smiles as I’m struggling with missing the holiday traditions of past years.
Holiday memories, whether fond or sad, inevitably create a sense of loss this time of year. We miss the cats and people who are no longer with us. And this year, the sadness may be compounded by not being able to experience the traditions that have made the holidays happy for us in the past.
I find that there are two ways for me to deal with the sadness of this holiday season: I can either lean into the sadness and let myself have a good cry, or I can shift my focus to happy memories of past holiday seasons. It’s not an either/or solution for me. While I think it’s important to remain as positive as we can, I don’t think being too Pollyanna about it all is the way to go, either. I try to find a happy medium.
This year, aside from missing all my favorite traditions such as eating out with friends, gathering in each others’ homes enjoying good food and company, attending holiday concerts and movies, and so much more, I also miss all the cats that have gone before, especially Ruby. But along with the sadness come holiday memories about each cat that make me smile.
The first Christmas we had Feebee, we realized that our tree would no longer have popcorn garlands. Feebee discovered that popcorn made for a great snack, but of course, I wasn’t going to take a chance that he would ingest the string.
Amber’s first Christmas was probably the first time in her then 2-year-old life that she got Christmas presents, and I went totally overboard.
Buckley’s first Christmas with Amber and me was a source of so much joy, just like everything else about this little cat. The girls had the best time opening gifts and playing with their new toys.
I held my breath when I put up my tree before Allegra’s first Christmas. I had never had such a high energy cat, and I wasn’t sure whether the tree would survive her enthusiasm. Thankfully, she was far more interested in the little “tent” underneath the tree, created by the floor length tablecloth covering the table it sits on.
My favorite Christmas memory of Allegra and Ruby together was the year I gave them one of those undercover mouse toys. They played together for hours with that toy that Christmas Eve.
Allegra and I will be making new holiday memories this year, and hopefully for many more years to come.
Do you have a favorite holiday memory of your cats?
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