Old memories, planning anew
It’s cold and snowy outside today. Too cold and snowy for me to venture out.
In many ways, a singular gift wrapped in the less than happy concerns about roads and sidewalks…for those of us whose proprioceptors are off-market at best.
So, I am inside, warmed with layers of sweaters and the thoughts of an easy day, one where I can take the time to measure out how much I want to go crazy during the coming onslaught of Christmas and its demands.
I will review my gift list, always, and I know how I do this, augmenting until reality and philosophy tell me no more. While I decry the emphasis on materialism that Christmas brings, I am one of the worse offenders, thinking that those to whom I will be giving gifts deserve, would like, should have…something else. I am both unrepentant and accusatory. A double bind that never seems to lessen.
I will, if I can, attempt to produce some little handmade item, perhaps a card, to bring light to the season.
A something that is more personal because it came from not only my heart and hands, but my time, which at this stage in life is the more precious then all of the seasonal stuff.
As I look out my window to see the snow covered branches of our apple tree, I am drawn back into the sense of warmth that all of this doing, all of this planning should bring.
There were years when I could not conjure a love for the season, so overwhelmed by work and the oddities that life brings.
I walked through those years with a must do list, trying to fulfill someone else’s idea of what Christmas should be.
Make your lists: gifts, cards, menus.
Purchase the presents.
Wrap the presents…and I might add, beautifully with all kinds of useless falderol. Write out the cards and make sure that you have Christmas stamps.
Decorate the house. In fact, I remember a house so over decorated that it makes my teeth hurt. Plan, purchase and prepare meals for several “feasts.”
Find clothes appropriate for parties, most of which were obligatory rather than celebratory. Too, way too, much.
It was hard to find Christmas amidst all of this busyness. At least not for me. I hoped that wasn’t true for my children.
There are picture of Christmas morning where the mother of the house is falling asleep.
You can tell she is exhausted, not with a sense of accomplishment. More like, “It’s almost over.”
It’s different now.
Sometimes a little more planning is needed but the over the top, magazine quality Advent and Christmas are a thing of the past.
Now, I still over-gift. I will attempt that personal touch, in fact I’ve found a kind origami paper wallet that will double as a greeting card. Maybe? Can I fill it with pictures, poems, a little note?
I’ve already hung a fluffy green wreath on our front door replete with the bow that I bought from Mary Lou Grant so many years ago.
I am remembering the cheer that Mary Lou’s Pedigreed Plants Christmas always provided. I can smell the cookies now, her warm welcomes and the tasteful, nostalgic and lovely gifts for purchase. A gentle respite during harried days.
I will prepare a few special foods, but only a few, seeking quality and time to spend with my loved ones as being the umami of the season.
Yes, I will write out and send Christmas cards, a little thing to gather loved ones into my Christmas circle of beliefs. Peace on Earth…I don’t forget that ever.
I will, as I always have done, go to church, this year as it was last year, playing my D, D# and E bells as part of St. Francis Xavier bell choir at Midnight Mass.
Practicing now, counting the rhythms of the Christmas songs and recalling a youth in Brooklyn where the season revolved around the celebration of the birth of Christ at our parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to find that child’s faith and wonder this year!
I am wishing all of my family and friends the meaning of the season. Love, peace, family, forgiveness and sharing…not only for those who practice Christmas, but for all who treasure those values under whatever tradition.
This is a season to embrace all of God’s creation, however it is manifested, however it connects with the infinite.
Funny how a snowy day has more meaning than you would think, how somehow, the simplest things are sparks to kindle memories of old fires and the planning of new.