Sunday, December 28, 2014
It occurred to me that there are several reasons why I don't get burned out on Christmas. First, we don't watch television. We have a TV set but only to watch DVDs. So we're not bombarded by commercials, Christmas movies, "specials" and so on. We check out movies from the library and own a few favorites that we watch each year but other than that, media doesn't impact our Novembers and Decembers.
Second, we don't do a lot of shopping. We tend to keep gifts small and I shop year-round so there's no stressed out last-minute craziness. We might be in the stories on Christmas Eve but it's mostly to enjoy the energy, excitement and the surprisingly happy mood of the last-minute shoppers in our town. This is a small town and if one stays away from the Wal-Mart, the mood is generally pretty mellow. We did venture into Wal-Mart one evening to pick up some paint supplies and both of us noticed how strained and unhappy people looked in that store. Was it the fact that the store is huge, and means long walks to get everything? Or that the floors make people's legs and feet hurt? (They sure make mine hurt, I can tell you.) Or was it the pressure of feeling like they needed to buy so many things, putting a strain on tired minds and stretched finances?
Third, we don't go to malls. I don't think I've actually shopped in a mall in 10 years. That means we avoid traffic snarls and grouchy people. The nearest shopping malls are an hour away, and not worth (to me, anyway) the hassle of the drive, paying for parking, and walking miles to look at "stuff." No thanks. I'll take small local shops any day.
I'm not a Grinch about the holiday. I love Christmas. I love the lights, the anticipation, the music, the cooking, the colors, and the decorations. I love the sense of awe of realizing anew every year the magic and mystery of the season. But I have learned to keep it in balance and to enjoy the specialness of this time of year, even to appreciating the dark days around the Solstice. I look forward to all the traditions and the memories. And I hate to see it all packed away, even though I know that I can look forward to doing it all over again in about 11 months.
Right now we're just beginning the Twelve Days. They won't end until Old Christmas/Three Kings Day/Epiphany, whichever you call it, on January 6th. I know my tree and decorations will be up until that day, just to extend the pleasure of the holidays a little bit longer. We'll be back to normal then and I hope we'll have enough memories to carry us through to the lighting of the tree in 2015.
Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.