#1 – The people that are gone. Nothing makes you notice the missing more than the Holiday Season. Sure, other things like weddings are tough, but the wedding is a one time thing (pretty much) and Christmas is a tradition that must radically change to avoid having the glaring empty chair where someone loved once sat.
#2 – There is more need than time or money. People are incredibly generous – I just wish they would spread it around more throughout the year. I have delivered more than 200 presents this year – all of them to people I have never met. And I still feel like it’s nowhere near enough.
#3 – It happens in the winter. What a dumb idea. Let’s see, let’s make an event that needs an excruciating amount of errands and shopping, and combine it with a bucket load of travel, both on our highways and in our skies, and let’s have it when the weather is most likely to be unpleasant or dangerous. What fun!
#4 – People buy me presents. Now I know for most people that is probably a good thing. But I have always found receiving Christmas gifts some sad combination of competitive, threatening and embarrassing. Now my best friends know better than to buy me anything. And if they do, they are not surprised that they are re-gifted or donated, often quite quickly. Gifts that do come, come with a condition; a gift of five festive soaps with the request “please keep at least one.”
#5 – The Food. With the lovely array of baked goods and chocolates exploding at every event that I am not able to resist, I am at risk of developing scurvy. Combine this with the fact that my usual physical activities are curtailed due to the holidays and I am in grave danger of becoming trapped in my own clothes.
#6 – The Music. The carols started playing before U.S. Thanksgiving this year. Most of them are insipid or cloying. But a few, just a few, break through and move me in spite of myself. Like this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g608gU3W-54
#7 – The Lights. Driving through our area, I do love to see the houses all lit up with their Christmas finery. Each house has it’s own take on how Christmas lights should look, and each unique endeavour combines with the next to form a glowing tableau. We have a single, Christmas tree lit up outside our barn and every time I come down the driveway my heart swells at the sight of it.
#8 – I hear from people that I haven’t heard from in a long time. No longer sending any cards, the number that I receive dwindles each year but I still revel in each handwritten envelope that appears in my mailbox. Also, through the phone, email or Facebook, people reach out to reconnect, for no other reason than to share good wishes.
#9 – Candlelight A.A. Meetings – combined with a pot luck. Always moving and lovely.
# 10 – Oh hell, I feel all soppy now. I’m going to go make a Peppermint Hot Chocolate, have a sugar cookie and read all the cards I got this year. I’ll put on James Taylor’s Christmas CD and light a fire. What a wonderful time of year!
Merry Christmas Everyone!