Well, it’s that time of year again. Perhaps it’s the fact of my mother’s death last year, but I’ve been having difficulty getting into “the spirit” of things. A few months ago I was really looking forward to Christmas, with much more enthusiasm than I normally muster. As the time came closer, though, I felt more and more down about it. I had decided to mix things up a bit, with new Christmas tree ornaments and garland. I was also going to chuck a lot of my other decorations that I didn’t really like, but kept anyway.
I found myself extremely reluctant to do anything related to Christmas, though. I really had to force myself to go out and look for new Christmas tree bulbs and other holiday stuff. There was a weight on my chest the whole time. I talked to the hubby about it and he offered to do what he could to make this holiday cheerful for me. We got a different type of tree – big and bushy. Normally, I get two small trees and put them on top of the tall speaker cabinets in my living room. But, if I wanted to do something different, that was fine with him. He even agreed to go out in stinking, rainy weather to get the tree and drive it home on the top of the car. It was an awful day to do it, but I wanted the weekend to get it all together. He even helped me string the lights, since I’m short enough so that reaching the top of the tree is impossible without a ladder.
My husband is Jewish. It’s not his holiday but he did it for me. I feel both guilty as well as grateful. We strung up the lights the next day, after the tree had dried off and relaxed its branches a little bit. I had already purchased some new ornaments and put older, worn out ones in the trash. I have some “heirloom” ornaments, stuff that I grew up with and took along with me to Boston. Those stayed but the rest were pretty much gone. I wonder how I’ll feel about that next year. My sister bought a holiday village luminary for me last Christmas. It’s a ceramic scene of two houses, a snowman and evergreen trees. There are places inside for candles, so you can see flickering light through the little windows. It’s very sweet and has absolutely no association with any Christmas tradition I have. Perfect! I perched it onto one of the speaker cabinets to the right of the tree and added three battery-operated flickering candles. Then I laid back on the couch with a comfy blanket and looked at the tree and the luminary. It feels really peaceful and I think I did the right thing by forcing myself through the motions to get it started. Nothing fancy, just a nice view and a quiet heart.
I got myself a tree over the weekend and finished trimming it earlier this evening. Even did a little bit of Christmas shopping, too. Something odd – I couldn’t bring myself to hang the ornaments I had bought here in Boston. I felt like taking the whole lot, chucking them into the trash and then going out and buying a whole new set of them. I didn’t, of course. But here’s the odd thing: I felt comforted when I hung the ornaments I’d grown up with. I took a few with me when I left for Boston and was expecting those to be the painful ones. They weren’t and now my tree is trimmed with (mostly) 50-year old Christmas ornaments. Go figure.
It’s December. Time to get ready for Christmas, and the first such event without my mother. I’m not pushing myself too hard to ring in the holidays, but don’t want to sit it out, either. I’ll be heading back to Western New York with my husband and I’m looking forward to seeing my father, brother, sister and brother-in-law.
I’m trying to think of new ways to celebrate. Maybe have our Christmas Eve dinner at someone else’s house. Change the menu. Have fun with the family and spend time with them in ways I didn’t before. See if I can introduce new family inter-dynamics. Who knows?
There will be a holiday kick-off for the Town of Arlington on December 7, this coming Saturday. The lights are going up in the trees, local shops will be holding special sales and promotions and Christmas preparations will be in full swing. That’s when I’ll get the tree, which we always buy at the Boys and Girls Club. Maybe I’ll get new lights and other decorations for it. Like I said: mix it up a little. I think that will work!
It’s not the greatest picture in the world, but this and one other small tree have brightened our living room for about two weeks. It’s been a consolation as well as a joy to see. I love Christmas!
I’ve finished the last of my Christmas baking – a glazed lemon tea bread – and have wrapped it for travel tomorrow. It’ll join other baked goods: peanut butter chocolate-chip cookies, coconut almond meringues and a loaf of “Skabana” bread, which is made with peanut butter and bananas. My sister is baking up a storm of her own. It’ll be a tasty Christmas!
My lucky streak with colds seems to have ended. I’m working my way through my second one in as many months. I’m at the head-plugged stage where I’m feeling better but sound worse. This is actually the worst part of having a cold for me. My hearing is rather sensitive and I go nuts when my ear pressure changes, as it’s doing now. I can’t focus and my balance is off because of the fluid in my inner ear.
As a result, I focused on some Christmas decorating yesterday, since it’s pretty mindless and doesn’t get upset whenever I have to stop to blow my nose or pop my ears. Plus, I was was feeling poorly and wanted lights and pretty trees, dammit! The hubby and I did a bit of Hanukkah shopping for his family yesterday morning, then we picked up two mini-trees for the living room. I managed to string them with lights and only broke two ornaments as I tried to string tinsel garland around them. My husband came to the rescue with that, otherwise I would have probably tipped the damn trees over.
I spent a restless night not being able to sleep or breathe, but was rewarded with the sight of two pretty little Christmas trees when I came downstairs for coffee. I also wrapped a few presents, to add even more color. Pretty, pretty, pretty! Then I put out a colorful tablecloth on the table in the dining room, popped a bouquet of flowers into the middle of it and lit a candle. Then I saw down and read, blew my nose, took little bitty naps and enjoyed the view.
Yuletide greetings and happy Kwanzaa (is that right?), wherever – and whoever – you are! Love, peace and plenty of eggnog. Ahhh, the world’s feeling better. Now tell me more about your holiday preps?