Her official arrival isn't for a couple of weeks yet, but Mother Nature's frigid sister has been teasing us with her icy embraces. Just now it is snowing. Large, fluffy flakes wafting down and exerting effort to defy gravity while seeking out the ideal resting place. It's a Currier and Ives kind of snow. The type that almost makes you want to get out the boxes of decorating paraphernalia and yield to wild abandon. Almost.
I am acquainted with people who, as soon as the dinner dishes are cleared on Thanksgiving Day, hoist the evergreen into place and have at it. I am not one of them. I've already had to listen to tidings of good cheer for weeks in every store I enter. Aisles of sundries shoved sideways for Santa. The rabid retail redecorating of businesses is perhaps one of my biggest pet peeves.
Please don't misunderstand--I love this season! I love the lights, the glitter, and the colours. I love the crisp, brisk air and the snowy serenity. What I don't like is the avaricious pursuit of material gain. Everything is now 40 to 60 percent off. I believe that includes dignity as well. I have already informed those who are on my gift list that they will be receiving hand-crafted practical gifts. I will not be seeking indulgences from department stores or sacrificing myself on the altars of to-die-for whatevers at bargain prices.
The tree will go up at some point. It will be dazzling and bejewelled with family heirlooms and my latest creative efforts. The lights will dance off of garlands of faceted beads and snowflakes. My mother's hand-crocheted angels will dance among the boughs dripping with tinsel. The cats will vie for space on the tree skirt beneath the celestial confection above. Cats and ribbons are not a good combination so the gifts will be stowed in one of the guest rooms until distribution time. No surface will go unadorned. The creche here, old world Father Yules there, all bathed in warm lighting.
There may or may not be background music. Depends on the mood. I know that silence is scary for some people but, personally, I like the quietness when I'm taking all the Christmas wonder in. I don't need anyone to tell me how or what to feel. In fact, I think it's distracting to the other senses. I think Christmas should be a season of sponteneity not habit. Traditions are wonderful but should never be absolute as if they were written in stone. I don't want to be limited by the past or restricted by the present. Christmas should evolve just as we evolve as each year passes.
Time is the rarest and most priceless gift we either give or receive. If we spent as much time reaching out to one another as we do decorating and selecting the perfect gift, Christmas would get its' meaning back and the world would be the better for it.
Today would have been my father's 91st birthday. He passed on in 1992. When he was 10 years old, the Stock Market crashed and he came of age during the Great Depression. When I was 11 years old Woodstock happened and I came of age during the Watergate fallout. Two very different worlds often collided under a single roof.
I wrote the poem below for my dad in November 1980. This is for you, Dad, as much today as it was then. Happy Birthday.
I called my dad tonight; We started with the weather And ended with 'I love you'. I remember I stopped kissing him good-night When I was fifteen. I wish I were back home tonight, ....And fourteen again.