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December 1, 2019

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I’ve got to be honest (this is where I start negative but get progressively more positive throughout the post). It’s really hard for me to like Christmas Day. Because no matter how hard I try, I can’t be in CT, NY, and NC at the same time. And it feels like there is so much pressure to be in a good mood and give good gifts and act like you’re exactly where you want to be with who you want to be with, even though it’s winter and there are only like 6 hours of daylight and traveling with the rest of the country is awful and you’re on vacation but you won’t even have time to recover from work because you’re too busy stressing about CHRISTMAS. (Phew, that rant felt good, haha.)

Instead, I like celebrating the spirit of Christmas in the weeks leading up to it. Getting a tree, decorating while listening to childhood favorite albums (Andy Williams/Raffi for me, Vince Guaraldi for John) and new ones we love together (Pentatonix) while some kind of stew is simmering on the stove and a good Christmas candle (not mulled spices) is burning. Making little gestures each day that make the season more festive like putting up lights or baking cookies before the other person gets home. (Even buying toilet paper feels Christmas-y when you write a poem about it and stick it in the advent calendar.)

Expectations

I don’t have expectations that you’ll do anything to make Christmas or other holidays special for me. My wish is that you will know that I try very hard to carve out time to be with you. My wish is that you will be honest about when/where you want that time to be and that you will work with me to plan ahead of time to that time together possible. I don’t care if it’s not on Christmas. Honestly, I feel like we have our own holidays, and I like those better anyway. I like getting together for Jazzy/Meg’s birthdays and Mother’s Day. I like being in Montauk around 8/8 every year if we can. I like getting together in the fall for Thanksmus if we can’t be together on Thanksgiving and/or Christmas days. I want to go to the ashram with you and Jazz. I just like being together.

Christmas Traditions I Really Love

As I mentioned above… I love listening to/singing Christmas music and chipping away at Christmas decorating and celebrating leading up to Christmas when there is no pressure/time constraint. I also love lights (like you)! I love coming home and seeing the lights on our balcony or on our tree. I love getting glimpses of lights in others’ apartment windows, because it reminds me that even though winter can be depressing and cold, there is warmth and comfort that people create for themselves in their little spaces.

A new tradition I like is having fires! Inside in fireplaces, outside in firepits or burn piles… This is not exclusive to Christmas, I love gathering around fires with people I love year round.

Christmas Memories

I have such fond memories of waking up on Christmas Day and seeing the warm glow of those big, colorful lights we always had on our tree. Christmas morning was my favorite. Not because of the presents (although those were great, too) but because it was just our family. We only had one place to be, and that was together.

I also loved when Grandma/Aggie/Meg and whoever they brought with them would come over to our house for breakfast after church. I loved feeling like we had a little time to enjoy things on our turf before we ventured out to other places.

Honestly, I still have that feeling when we all wake up in Montauk together. It’s not really a Christmas feeling as much as it is a family and love and togetherness feeling. (Which I think is what Christmas is supposed to feel like too!)

Thank You!

Thank you for continuing this conversation, Mom. Maybe family **password protected** blogging can be a new holiday tradition, because we’re carving out time to be 100% present, even if we’re not physically together. And this is already helping me as I work to let go of the guilt and sadness I feel around picking and choosing where to spend holidays. And that, is the best Christmas gift I’ve gotten in a while. I love you.

This year with Thanksgiving being so late, it seems like Christmas is rushing up at me. As usual, I have to remind myself to SLOW DOWN. Though I am afraid if I slow down too much, I will just fall asleep. Grammie had a little pillow thing that hung on a doorknob. I have no idea what the significance of a pillow on a doorknob is, but there was a phrase embroidered onto it that has great significance! Bloom where you are planted. A little idiom that grows on you. You don’t have to have the deepest roots, you can always be transplanted at another time, and you can bloom many times over.
Christmas music tops the list also! Blue Christmas by Elvis is a guilty favorite. Julia, I am so glad you are enjoying fires, I think it is a meditative, soft focus event that gives our brain a break. Are you still afraid of lighting a match?
When you two were little I always wanted to touch all of your senses with gifts. Sight sound touch taste and smell. I didn’t do a simmer pot again after the great illness of whatever year that was. My favorite Christmas smell is the tree.
We are always together in spirit, right? So don’t let that spirit be a nagging thing on your shoulder saying “you should have you could have why don’t you…” I wouldn’t do that, don’t let imaginary me do that!
Having to stop and think about things gives you insight. Yeah, maybe you have to look at some stuff you don’t like, but then you have the opportunity to start transforming it into something else ( I can hear Jazz saying “effort, mom”) . It’s like wishing on a star, once you know what to wish for, its in the front of your squirrel brain and you can see it in the light and decide if it is worthy of your EFFORTS. LOL efforts Jazz.
Lots and lots of eh-f-farts.
Some how I think spend and holiday contradict each other.

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