First of all, I’d like to thank each and every one of you who have taken the time to leave such uplifting comments on my last posts. I can’t begin to tell you what a gift it is to know that others care so much. You’ve touched my heart in indescribable ways.
Charlie’s Dad continues to take baby steps toward recovery. There are still some niggling problems to be overcome, and he surely won’t be home for Christmas, but I believe we’ve all accepted that and continue to be grateful that the worst is over. For my ex and his wife, the news isn’t quite so good, but if good thoughts can cure, she’ll make a good recovery.
As chores are accomplished and the day draws closer, things look a bit lighter. It reminded me of a post I made last year before I joined Blotanical, and I thought I’d publish it again — as much a reminder to myself as to others.
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Christmas. You either love it or hate it. Or, you love it AND hate it.
We all love the sights, the sounds, the smells that are distinctly Christmas: twinkling lights, traditional carols, fragrant gingerbread men. But in my mind, something has gone very wrong with the way we prepare for Christmas.
There’s a dark side to Christmas, if one dares to admit and express it. It’s a sort of desperation or torment that exists in the hearts and homes of most of us at some point throughout the holiday season: the lists that we agonize over…it’s such a headache trying to come up with gift ideas! You’ll find it in the conversations of fatigued shoppers who chat in long checkout lines, not so much pleased with their purchases, or anticipating the joy their gifts will bring to others, as they are relieved that this horrible chore is finally finished. The fruitcake, cookies and other savory dishes that I remember my mother taking so much pride and joy in baking now seem, to so many of my friends, to be just one more job to be crossed off the long list of Things To Do Before Christmas.
I don’t mean to sound too much like Pollyanna here — I’ll do my own share of grumbling and nail chewing over the next few days. But I ask you: if Christmas preparations are that much trouble…why do people bother?
Yes, yes, I agree. Christmas has become too commercial. We’re hardly finished with Halloween before being bombarded by Christmas advertisements, plastic store decorations, and such. But what sort of humbuggery has possessed us?
Christmas should be the celebration of love, benevolence, and kindness, and the celebration of the joy and peace that those things bring. Yes, we live in troubled times. Yes, many of us are so hopelessly distracted by jobs and other responsibilities that it is almost impossible for Christmas to not seem like a chore.
But I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a choice we all make. Christmas doesn’t have to be perfect (and in fact, cannot be perfect) which was a hugely difficult lesson I’ve learned recently.
Since then, however, I’ve lowered my expectations, if only slightly. I’ll always be a perfectionist, I suppose. And Christmas will always be my favorite time of year. But I have let go of certain preconceived notions of what the holidays are supposed to be, and every time I feel a BAH, HUMBUG coming on, I resolve to focus on what’s really important: family, friends, good food, togetherness, conversation.
It’s a choice. Why, even Scrooge had a change of heart.
“His own heart laughed: and that was quite
enough for him.” – Charles Dickens