Monday, December 15, 2014

Simplifying Christmas

I used to love the Christmas season.  The hustle and bustle of gift  shopping.  The smell of fresh baked cookies and bread.  Decorating.  Hanging tinsel from the tree.  I think I fed off of the excitement of two little boys and I cherish those memories.


Since those days many Decembers have come and gone.  And with each passing one my enthusiasm for the holiday has diminished a little year.  I avoid the mall like the plague.  On line shopping is much easier and far less stressful.  I rarely bake, mostly because I will be the one stuffing myself full of unwanted calories, and most years it is all I can do to muster enough energy to decorate the tree.

I have been known to blame my holiday indifference on Florida and the fact that the boys are grown.  When your children become adults with lives and families of their own it's a game changer.  But that's not fair.  Christmas lights twinkling from palm trees and boat parades are holiday traditions too.  Perhaps not mine but it is unreasonable to reject them simply because they weren't previously a part of my life.  And the adult children?  They should be allowed the freedom to create their own family traditions.

I've thought a lot about my Christmas malaise and this year have granted myself permission to do as little as possible without guilt or remorse.  It took me three days to decorate the tree which I had decreed was the only decorating that would be done because, well, who wants to put all that stuff away anyway.  As I sorted through the bins of holiday decorations I decided to clean house, toss what was broken or no longer meaningful.

A funny thing happened on the way to placing the wallpaper angel on top of the tree.  Without my realizing it, the rest of the house became sprinkled with Christmas.  It may not be the over the top Christmas wonderlands that are portrayed in magazines and on tv but who needs that stress.  As  I looked around the house I saw my Dad in the old wooden sleigh he made for my Mom over 60 years ago,  Bubba in the scent of cinnamon wafting from the candle in the kitchen, Stephen in the tall wooden angel holding tightly to her star,  my Mom in the ancient glass ornament that hung on her tree as a child, B is here as a jolly fat snowman fishing from  his too small boat (a gift she ha probably forgotten she gave), Allie and Gabe in handmade paper ornaments,  and Chris in the wallpaper angle that presides over it all.

That's when it hit me.  By simplifying Christmas, eliminating the junk, the trendy stuff with no meaning, and sprinkling what remaines around the house I will never be alone for Christmas.  Everyone I love and cherish is right here with me.

Isn't that the way it's supposed to be?

P.S.  The Kid and I even went to the mall on Thursday.

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