If This Is A “First Christmas” For You

A popular meme these days is one like this:

“Someone you know is preparing for their first Christmas without a husband, wife, mate, mother, father, brother, sister, daughter or son.

“Regardless of the specifics, remember that the season of joy is sometimes a season for sorrow for others.

“Be kind, be generous, give love, give help; if nothing else, just be kind.”

It’s true and timely.

Many years ago, in the early “Wrappin’ With Jack” years after 9/11, I started hearing from, and meeting, military spouses and widows through our event. They sometimes came to our wrapping broadcast with their children, or a friend, but even more often, alone.

I try to thank every person I meet through WWJ—the gift of your presence is an honor. But it was interesting how these people would want to thank me. They were grateful—to be around people, laughter, commotion, camaraderie. What they had assumed would always be a holiday fixture, the hustle-and-bustle, was lost.

Their house was too quiet. Their thoughts were too loud. Something told them to get out and be around people.

“Wrappin'” became their new tradition, and stayed one, even as they perhaps reunited with returning partners, or refilled their lives with new loves and friends. Whether through military separation, divorce, family estrangement, illness or death, in case you are going through something painful and private right now, I wanted to say this to you:

If you are having a “first Christmas” of some sort this year, it would be our honor to share tomorrow night with you. You may come alone, uncertain about the event, or about your readiness to be in a crowd. From what I’ve seen, bonds are formed as strangers share tables, tape and paper, while conspiring to make a joyful  Christmas for a family somewhere in San Antonio.

Far be it from me, a lifelong introvert, to push this. I only wanted you to know that I understand what you’re going through. And I care.

And we would love to have you for  whatever your “first” might be.

“Wrappin’ With Jack 2023” is Wednesday, December 6th from 6 to 8 PM at Bluebonnet Palace 17630 Lookout Road in Selma, TX. Donations and gifts benefit families served by Family Service Association of San Antonio. There’ll be live music and a live radio broadcast during the event. Admission is free and open to all. More details are at ktsa.com/wrappin-with-jack/

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