MARY MEAUX — More to the holiday than gifts

Published 12:05 am Thursday, December 23, 2021

There seems to be two types of folks at this time of the year, one joyful and one trying to be that way.

For a community ready to celebrate and/or see something positive, the joyful ones began putting up their trees and setting out the decorations soon after Halloween.

I read the social media posts and smiled along with them as these festive folks posted photos of their handiwork, twinkling lights bathing their living rooms in the colors of the season. Rooms awash in the glow of the lights, mantles decorated, stockings hung and all sorts of Santas and nativity scenes set out.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The mostly pristine homes look like something out of a magazine as my eyes move to focus on one thing of beauty after another.

Then there are the gifts. More than likely these gifts were purchased in advance, perhaps during the year, then carefully wrapped with bows and name tags attached. These are the blessed.

I’ve seen my share of Christmases like this and I’ve seen parents stand in line to receive gifts from a charitable organization. I’ve seen the faces, moms and dads and grandparents, as they navigate the lines holding on to paperwork and ID cards and maybe even a child or two.

The organizers do everything possible to make this pleasant, be it with music, decorations, cookies, photos with Santa, etc. But a deep look into those eyes sometimes tells a different story. One of embarrassment, gratitude, hopes, fears and that moment of realizing everything will be all right.

You come to an age when you realize not every Christmas will be merry, no matter if the house is decorated or gifts are under the tree. I have a friend whose family is dealing with the sudden loss of a family member. I know no amount of gifts and tinsel is going to ease their pain. But she knows I’m here when she needs to talk or just hang out.

While she and her family are dealing with grief, I know of others who are sitting this Christmas out. Either they got busy or their pocketbook was bare. For whatever reason, they weren’t in the earlier group of folks who decorated early in excited anticipation of the holiday or have stacks of presents bought and wrapped.

I love to decorate for Christmas and have boxes of stuff to put out but I didn’t go all out like I have in the past. Next year will be over the top, I promise.

Meanwhile let’s count our blessings and give a thought or two to those who are experiencing a different type of Christmas this year — one that isn’t so merry.


Mary Meaux is a news reporter at The Port Arthur News. She can be reached at