The Holiday Paradox

Winter 2018 begins in a few weeks. The chill of recent temps has moved our neighborhood into the holiday spirit. A little early. As I unboxed Christmas decorations yesterday I knew the holidays had not ‘snuck-up’ on us, not this year. Unlike previous years, this year was long.
 
The slow decline of my father and his recent death made 2018 a year of strong memories. Too short and yet too long. 

“Our brain encodes new experiences, but not familiar ones, into memory, and our retrospective judgment of time is based on how many new memories we create over a certain period. In other words, the more new memories we build on a weekend getaway, the longer that trip will seem in hindsight.

This phenomenon, which Hammond has dubbed the holiday paradox, seems to present one of the best clues as to why, in retrospect, time seems to pass more quickly the older we get. From childhood to early adulthood, we have many fresh experiences and learn countless new skills. As adults, though, our lives become more routine, and we experience fewer unfamiliar moments.” – The Scientific American

Dad’s last year was a mix of sweet and painful memories. Memories I keep fresh. They are paired with holiday memories of youth, racing Dad to the house on Christmas Eve because he just saw reindeer flying off our rooftop!

the holiday paradox

This photo of Dad was taken at Christmas 1959. A few years before I came along.

Holiday Traditions

Traditions are great! They bind us together. They got me and my siblings through Dad’s last days and his wake/funnel – still as a family, but forever bruised.

This year, our holiday traditions will change.

We plan to visit Dad’s grave on Black Friday and place a holiday arrangement. I promised Mom. Thanksgiving Day would have been their 62nd year together.

The clock stood still.

Time is
Too Slow for those who Wait,
Too Swift for those who Fear,
Too Long for those who Grieve,
Too Short for those who Rejoice;
But for those who Love, Time is not.

― Henry van Dyke