The Different Christmas

by Sherry Riter in Holiday

This year will mark my forty-eighth Christmas during which time there have been numberless memories created. In many ways, it is a blur of memories from childhood and motherhood.

As much excitement as it has been receiving gifts, there has been so much more joy in being able to give to those I love…with this year being the exception.

It is strange actually. Alyssa and I have had such a hard and unhappy two years that we don’t feel any Christmas spirit at all.

Lights, trees and music have not spurred the usual emotions. Actually, we both feel a bit hollowed out inside.

I had started to feel guilty about it all until last night after Alyssa got home.

As we sat together in our pajamas keeping Bella and the eight-week old pup I have been dog sitting away from each other, the conversation was light and easy. Even without words, we were sharing the same feelings in many ways.

While we both puttered on our computers, I played music. For a long time, I kept clicking different YouTube videos of Michael Bublé – first Christmas music and then his just regular songs. When we had exhausted all the Michael Bublé music at quite an elevated volume, I put on my regular playlist of non-holiday songs which starts out with about ten Kenny G easy flowing saxophone arrangements.

Alyssa thinks his music is beautiful too and so we surfed, chatted and listened.

Well, that’s what we did until the silliness set in…

When Ambrosia started singing “How Much I Feel,” the mood suddenly changed.

I don’t know how this whole business started
Of you thinkin’ that I had been untrue
But if you think that we’d be better parted
It’s gonna hurt me but I’ll break away from you
Well, just give me the sign and I will be gone, yeahh

And that’s when Alyssa, the girl with the gorgeous singing voice, started to sing like a crazy girl with a terrible voice…

That’s how much I fe-e-e-e-el
Fee-e-e-e-el for you, ba-a-aby

Okay, she totally ruined the song and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. Alyssa couldn’t keep singing either because she was laughing so hard. My “old” music wasn’t cutting the mustard.

While both of us laughed without breathing, I looked at this beautiful young woman and once again, like millions of times before, felt a surge of love and gratefulness that I am her mother. I am the one that has been able to watch her grow and share all these moments of life.

Every minute that I have lived being her mother has been the greatest moments of my life.

Alyssa has made me a better and happier person.

Although we didn’t do decorations and all the gifts she wanted probably won’t get here before Christmas tomorrow, we have made peace with our lack of emotions.

I don’t feel guilty any longer and Alyssa doesn’t either.

Instead, I am very grateful that we are both alive to share another holiday together and hopefully the rest of our family will feel the same way.

Tomorrow’s festivities and lack of “spirit” will become a blur and a small blip in our memories in comparison to many of those we’ve experienced in the past, but that’s fine. The most important thing of all is that I love Alyssa and my family and they love me back. It doesn’t take Christmas, gifts, decorations and lights to make those feelings validated.

This year it will be the love, compassion and shared moments that count.

It will be the breathless moments when I realize that Alyssa is alive and I’m also alive and that we are able to enjoy the day together. That memory and those feelings will always be strong and never blur.

The Redhead Riter

This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Stéfan December 24, 2011 at 5:53 am

Well said… it's about the heart… and in the end, that's having spirit.


2 Loressa December 24, 2011 at 7:33 am

Hi! New blog frog follower! It is hard when life goes on around December….I have struggled a bit myself. Finding peace and what really matters is priceless!

You can visit me at

Merry Christmas!


3 Teresha@Marlie and Me December 24, 2011 at 8:44 am

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones Red and have a joy-filled new year!


4 PJ December 24, 2011 at 11:43 am

Merry Christmas Red and Alyssa! Because we have no children to share the holiday with, the decorations and gifts aren't that important to me. We give each other gifts all year long, so in our house we don't feel that the gifts are an important part of the holiday. We USUALLY give to the rest of his family, but this year, he decided to not give Christmas and give extra nice things for each of their birthdays, and spend what money he has been able to save up on our trip in January. That will be our Christmas gift. I think it's nice to be able to concentrate on the true meaning of Christmas instead of worry about putting up a tree, decorating the house, cooking and baking and everything else that seems to keep our minds preoccupied and away from the true reason of this holiday. Actually, for some a certain fact has been on my mind a lot lately. I'm sure you've heard and and know about it, but even though the actual date of Christ's birth was not recorded in the Bible, the "signs" point to the "lambing season" or sometime in the period of March to May in the Christian calendar, this was determined because of the shepherds and such. Anyway, it was the Catholic church who decided to celebrate it on December 25 along with their celebration of their different Saints. At least that's what I have read in encyclopedias and such.

Sorry y'all are feeling "blue". I pray that the coming year will be much better for y'all. Just keep in mind through all your trials that God is still on the throne and He is SO Good. As a testimony, my sister's husband, my precious brother-in-law, ROLLED HIS PICKUP. It landed on it's side, all bent up and glass everywhere. He crawled out of there with no human help WITHOUT A BRUISE OR SCRATCH ON HIM. No one will ever convince me that God didn't have His hand on Bobby.


God Bless,


5 PJ December 24, 2011 at 11:44 am

By the way, my BIL was traveling at 65 miles an hour when it happened!

God Bless,


6 Joan December 24, 2011 at 12:12 pm

This is a beautiful post with beautiful photographs and very heartfelt! To be with your loved ones and family is truly the gift! :o)


7 Lisa December 24, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Merry Christmas – you are not alone in those feelings!


8 Katherines Corner December 24, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Merry Christmas my friend.I hope your holiday is as sweet as you are xo


9 Brooke @ Covered in Grace December 24, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Oh! I just really loved this post.
It really hit home for me…living across the pacific ocean from my entire family, save my husband and two girls. I have not been feeling the "spirit", especially in this tropical weather where it still feels like the middle of summer.

Your words were so heartfelt and genuine.
I can imagine you and your daughter sitting together in your living room and doing the things you described so vividly.

And you are right, it's being together, alive and healthy, that matters. It's those little things that we sometimes tend to forget that make the holidays what they truly should be…a time of gratefulness and remembrance and togetherness.

Thanks for your post!


10 Farthest Shore December 24, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your heartfelt thoughts with us. I can truly understand how you are feeling.

I find that Christmas, although looked forward to with great expectation, is often an emotional time fraught with tension, worry and sadness. We always remember, with love and sorrow, those who have gone on before us. Things change, and not always for the better. Friends and family may live far away. Yet, in spite of these obstacles, a tiny piece of hope can always be present in our hearts, gently reminding us that the true Gift of Christmas is God's love for us all.

God bless you and your daughter, and may the New Year shower you with happiness, joy, love and peace.

All the best in 2012.


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