It can’t be December. Tell me I’m dreaming. Thanksgiving came too soon and flew by without any cooking mishaps or emotional drama of any kind.
Now on to the main event.
I love Christmas and the holidays and all the happy, squishy feelings and goodwill we’re supposed to spread around.
This year is a bit different, at least in our home. For one thing, we initially decided to not get a tree.
What? We've NEVER skipped the tree. Ever!
I LOVE Christmas trees. There’s nothing as satisfying as a live, euphoria-inducing, aromatic tree to perfume the home and provide a visual focus for festivities.
So why skip it this year? One word. Cat.
We brought into our home a young cat whose mission, it seems, is to seek and destroy. His name is Hoku (it means "star"), but we should have named him Kolohe (rascal). We love him, but his curious, energetic presence means minimal decorations this year, certainly nothing he can climb, claw, pull down, knock over, or pulverize.
Or eat. Which means no poinsettias. Sad.
So, yeah, we are back to baby-proofing our house for a little devil disguised as a 9-month-old kitten.
But then Ward, my husband, said, "Let's get a tree anyway! We don't have to decorate it."
So we did. And here it is.
And here is what happened two minutes later.
Yup. that's Hoku. In the tree. The tree will remain naked.
Maybe this is a blessing in disguise. Every December I spend many, many hours decorating. Although I really don’t mind at all, it does suck up a lot of time.
This year we won’t ditch the glitz entirely. We (meaning my husband) will still string up lights, inside and out (LED, of course).
And there are other things I—we-- can do to get into the holiday spirit. Things that have nothing to do with the physical manifestations of the season.
That’s the silver lining, right there. I’ll spend less time decorating and more on things that truly matter. That’s the plan, anyway.
There are friends we only see at this time of year. Sad, but true. It’s a symptom of our busy and fragmented modern lifestyles. I look forward to these yearly, festive gatherings. I need to make an effort to reach out more often. Isn’t this something we all have to work on?
A lot of folks see this as a perfect time to enrich the lives and fulfill the needs of others. It’s easy around Christmas, with the spirit of generosity flowing all around us. If you feel so inclined, give. It’s a good thing. But again, as with our neglected friendships, let’s resolve to spread the giving out throughout the year.
As I said, we got through Thanksgiving. We will have a joyous Christmas. That’s because, some time ago, we made a deal with each other. Our family members are heavily divided over the politics of the day. Everyone feels passionately about their points of view. So, we have decided that our gatherings are a “no-politics zone.” We don’t have to get upset and emotional and angry just to fail to change each other’s minds.
What we focus on are the things that bring us together. The food, the laughter, the silly jokes and cheerful, loud bantering that occurs whenever we’re in the same house. The love we have for each other is palpable. It’s a love I’m determined not to allow politics to rupture.
So, there you have it. December is now. The holidays are here. Ready or not.
Let’s focus on what we agree are the good things in life. And just for a little while, forget the tensions of the things we cannot change.
Let’s revel in home, in peace, and in love.