I won’t be going home for Christmas this year. I really wanted to go but there isn’t the money nore can I afford to leave town while on EI (employment Insurance)… I feel shackled in a way I haven’t felt in years. I had a wonderful visit home in August and this year and so I really wanted to go! As a child Christmas was my favorite time of year besides birthdays, not because of the gifts but because of my mother Carol Ann would often transformed these celebrations into events made of fond memories. At Christmas the home was transformed into a true winter wonderland and for years the secret of Santa was maintained as long as humanly possible. On Christmas Eve we would gather for presents at the grandparents as well as festive meals with the whole family. As I got older the family began to demonstrate that the expectations of Christmas was getting onerous and so things like name picking and or buying for the kids only became the new Christmas as an adult living in another country Christmas became an ambiguous idea for me as meeting the expectations and the cost of travel seemed to take the joy out of the experience.
Yet when I did go home Mothers annual pageant always reminded me of those fond childhood memories. I love Christmas, I Love birthdays, I got that from my mother. I could be her single lasting gift to me. I love my mother. Circle back to a few weeks ago as I am sitting on the couch and lamenting my Charlie Brown Christmas Tree and single strand of lights… Im trying to decide how pathetic my situation is. Ive had such an interesting couple of years which my surgery, and then loosing the best job of my life and it could be easy to think upon this recent series of events and negatively personalize it all, but then my mother comes back into my mind and the sheer effort she would put in to making a perfect Christmas for everyone, even if her efforts sometimes became manic and crazy she simply insisted that Christmas was important for family and the effort kept her focused on what was important. I decided to take another gift passed on to me by her, my creativity and turn it on my situation, How could I find my mother here in Toronto, How could I find my Christmas? What would Mother find magical in Toronto? I began to go out and photograph things she would like. I swam through the commercialization of the holiday and re-appropriated what I saw for myself. The color and festive nature of Christmas is everywhere and it reminds me of my childhood and my mother. So Im here for Christmas, simultaneously broke and blessed and oddly happy. Feel free to stop by if your in town….PS Bring food!;-)
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