Sunday, January 15, 2012

Christmas on the Curb

Hello Internet!

I've missed you. My excuses for my absence are lame. I was away, busy, sick, tired (like going to sleep before I usually write these blogs tired - totally weird). I'm sorry to have abandoned ship. Happy Thanksgiving. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Are we all caught up?

No. Not at all. We'll get there. Be patient with me.

I want to post about Ireland (Neon Kelly Green!) and Christmas (Merrily Mellow!) and maybe how America is not introvert friendly. I'll get there. I am finding my way to a more normal rhythm of life. I'm going to post out of order and go back to all those half written, passed occasions another time though.

Tonight, I'm missing Christmas. Recently, a friend posted a picture protesting a Christmas tree on the curb before Epiphany. It made me sad. It felt too soon to let go of the merry. And since then, as I've driven in Alexandria, I've noticed that there are trees on every block. I hate to let the season go.

While I know that keeping a dead tree in the house much longer would be a messy fire hazard, It bums me out to see Christmas thrown out with the trash. It feels like an analogy for how quickly we get rid of Christmas spirit - if we ever had it at all. Everyone is so rushed and talks about "surviving" Christmas. Buy the presents. Go to the party. Hit up a church service. Sing a carol. Bing bang boom and we're Christmas-ed. New Year's is here - we survived!

Umm. What?

Admittedly, I had years where Christmas was stressful. I was trying to split time between separate families, sometimes in separate states and it was sometimes more stress and obligation than joy. I felt the crunch of the rush and commercial focus and interpersonal chaos that came from it.

That's against the rules now. I love Christmas and I try to strike a balance of calm and connecting that makes it enjoyable and not overwhelming.

I love the attitude of expectation that comes with Advent. The Christmas music comes out early and stays a little too long. (My Grandmother taught me that it was always ok - even in July - to be grateful that baby Jesus was born.) I love nativities and cheesy decorations. (It's a perfect excuse to be shamelessly cheesy.) I like to drive aimlessly and see the lights. I like to decorate cookies. I like to drink warm things in front of a Christmas tree. I like paper snowflakes. I like lazy, pajama mornings and unrushed conversations with family and old friends. Christmas has become a break and a celebration and more about the who than the what.

So, what's with the "survival" attitude? We have a choice. Why so many begrudged to-do lists and obligations? How did any of us let it become something that runs us down instead of refreshing and inspiring us? Don't do it people. Love it or lose it. Christmas is not an obligation it's an opportunity. Don't survive it. Don't throw it out with the trash. Treasure it and then set it aside to love again another year.

Go ahead and get rid of those trees though - I suppose they won't make it until next year.

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