I am an unapologetic Holiday junkie. I can’t wait for the season to arrive and I decorate to abandon. The holiday season for me starts at Halloween and climaxes on New-Years day. I love it all.
Just after Thanksgiving I start with my Christmas decorations. This year I had the good sense to hire someone to help me with the outside lights, the ones I put around the roofline of our home. So there I was blazing away while the other homes remained dark, no matter. At first I was the only one in my Court to decorate outside, then slowly others began to follow.
If I am able, in some small way, to make someone smile, add a little joy or lift someone spirits with my decorations then I have achieved my goal. So what is the holiday spirit? Aside from the religious aspect, to me it is a time of year that we give ourselves permission to have some fun, spread some joy and to lay all our hurts, worries and frustrations down for a time. We are bombarded by all the songs, phrases and events that help us to stay in the spirit when it seems hard at times. It can be a stressful time if we let it, but I simply choose to not let that happen. Instead I like to make new memories adding to what I already have.
I would like to share with you one of my favorites. I was 5 and counting down the days that Santa would arrive. Time for me had seemed to slow to a crawl. I had memories of Christmas past but this Christmas all my senses and observations were fully intack. That is when I feel in love with all the trappings that accompany the holidays. My family and I had just come back from the town parade where Santa had been a big part. I even had the opportunity to see and talk to him. For a five year old it was the best thing EVER.
Shortly after that my brother and I had spent a great deal of time constructing a letter to Santa outlining all our wishes. My mom helped us, making sure it was sent out to the right address (#1, North Pole, Top Of The World) and we even went to the post office to Santa’s special mail box to make sure it was sent out in time for him to read. When we came back from mailing our letters we made Christmas cookies, fudge and some other wonderful confections. It was the happiest of times. All was very well with the world.
The days between then a Christmas Eve seemed an eternity to me. When the eve of Santa’s visit had finally arrived. I was too excited to even think about sleep and was bound and determined to stay up to see him come down the chimney with our presents.
My parents had come up with a solution to get my brother and I to sleep and appease our determination. In the home where we lived there was a small sun porch that was adjacent to the fireplace with very large picture windows facing out to our front yard. It offered the best opportunity for us to see Santa’s approach and to hear him come down the chimney. My Dad had set up a place for my brother and I to lay down. My Mom had given us some hot cocoa and cookies and had read “Twas The Night Before Christmas”. It had just started to snow and the moon was out. It was magical.
After a short time, against all our efforts, my brother and I had fallen asleep. Somewhere in the middle of the night I was wakened by a sound. I could ACTUALLY hear something on the roof. It SOUNDED like sleigh bells, boot foot falls and reindeer hooves. I was immediately wide awake and rushed out of my makeshift bed. I looked out the window but it was snowing to hard for me to see anything. My little brother was following very close behind. When I rounded the corner from where we were sleeping I could see the lit tree and all the presents Santa had just delivered. My parent couldn’t help hearing us in the living room and made their way to us and to see what Santa had brought.
I will never know if what I heard was real or a dream but to me it was very real and something I have never forgotten. It was the most magical Christmas and one I still hold close to my heart.
As I grew older it became harder to hold on to that magical feeling. Partly because I had not understood that the driver of that feeling was internal not external. It took a long time before I finally got it and now I hold on to it with all my heart. I have learned that the gift of that magic is something we give ourselves.
Now it’s your turn, what are some of your most cherished holiday memories?
Life’s journey continues…