Sunday, December 11, 2011

Thoughts about the holiday season.

I try very hard to slow this season down. I try to forget the commercial push that seems to surround us starting in October.  I don't want my December to be one of rushing around with a list or schedule of things that need to be done. 
A friend and I were having coffee, the other morning and she told me about taking a day trip with some friends.  In the car they were sharing memories of some of their favorite moments from Christmas pasts. One woman told them about her Christmas tree and how they decorated it with edible treats and little candied cherries and candles.  She said that during Advent, on a Sunday, they could choose one treat to remove from the tree, after dinner. She said that she spend most of the day curled up in a chair, staring at the tree, making her decision.
No one in the car could ever remember hearing about candied cherries being hung on a tree.
They arrived in Cedarsburg, Wisconsin  and went to the Tourist Booth to get a map. There, on a Christmas tree, in the lobby, they saw candied cherries hanging off the branches.
Of course, like most of us, they babbled about the coincidence and then somebody thought to ask the information person where they could find these cherries.
Off they went to a candy shop.  I have no idea how many of these candied cherries actually made it back home to their respective trees. At least one person will have started a new tradition in her family.

Christmas can be a difficult time for newly married couples. They may come from completely different backgrounds and traditions and now have to blend, ignore and compromise them into new traditions.
Zeus and I came from different backgrounds. Mine was from the more the better, which ranged from the amount of tinsel thrown on the tree to the number of inexpensive presents under the tree. Zeus came from a family that gathered at the grandparents home, waited for the dining room doors to be slid back and the table top size tree, brought down from the upstairs closet. He shared the holiday with cousins and family.
We may have driven up to Shamokin from our house to celebrate Christmas dinner but Christmas Eve and Christmas morning were spent with usually one or the other parent. Somebody was always on call or duty, with one being a nurse and the other a policeman.

In 42 years, Zeus and I have managed to work out a compromise about celebrating Christmas, although some years were harder than others. If you have relatives sending presents to your children, that makes for a number of presents piling up under the tree. If two of your children have birthdays on either side of Christmas that adds to the confusion. When our children were young I would watch Zeus's eyes grow wide at the amount of gifts gathering under the tree.  Add that to my philosophy that fun things were for Christmas vs his one good, well thought out, well planned gift and tempers would rise.
We worked it out, although one year, thinking we had got a handle on this, my mother in law arrived and looked at the tree and said, " Oh, my, look at all those gifts!"  There was a certain horror in her voice. Zeus looked at me, enough said.

Our old house was gorgeous at Christmas with candles in all the windows.  We entertained all our friends at a huge open house. The house was completely decorated. There were trees in all the rooms, a tree in the room we called the library, laden with musical instruments, a large potted tree branch with white lights, in the dining room with all the glass ornaments hanging from it.  A Teddybear tree stood in the hallway and of course the fresh cut tree in the living room. I was a regular Martha Stewart clone at Christmas.

There is no tree this year. I figure we get off this year since we had two trees last year.  Remember the one we bought at the garden center only to have every single needle fall off of it before we were two weeks past Thanksgiving?

This year is the year we have the whole family and it's the year we are fortunate enough to be able to go to St. John's again. Christmas Eve we will all be gathered around the table on the deck, enjoying the warm breezes and watching the fireworks. Zeus will read the Christmas story to the grandchildren before they go to bed. Christmas day will be spend with family and friends as we gather on the beach.

And, that's what it's really all about, isn't it?  Spending some time with loved ones, no matter where you are. Spending some time with people that seem happy to be with you. Sharing the gift of LOVE.

So, however you are spending the holidays I wish you and your loved ones whether two legged or four a very healthy, happy and creative season and New Year.



  1. Your Christmas decorating spirit definitely passed on to the next generation--James loves all things Christmas--he was just talking last night about going out to cut down a tree and everyone brought an instrument! He has such wonderful memories of Christmas!

  2. Blessings to you and your entire family...I know I am not alone in saying the Christmas here in the US has lost the gentle feelings of family and the true belief of kindness. Peace and do not forget the sunscreen! Peace, Mary Helen