"To many people holidays are not voyages of discovery, but a ritual of reassurance."
Philip Andrew Adams
In the past week I've been knocked low by pre-Black Friday sales, stores decked out in all their Christmas regalia bypassing Thanksgiving, and a radio station already plays Christmas carols round the clock. On a quick run to the grocery store last night, I even heard the tinkling of the Salvation Army bell. Is it just me or does the earlier - merchandising of Christmas make people feel less merry, instead of more? By the time the actual 12 Days of Christmas get here, I dare say the birds will have quit calling, the geese stopped laying and the Lords may hop but will be way too tired to leap.
I make one exception to the hurry up or you're gonna lose out hype. It's the Joann Fabric ads for Christmas flannel that start in July. It makes sense to me that people who make Christmas gifts have to start early. Buying feels-good-on-your-cheek flannel in holiday prints of red and green is a holiday tradition for me, like others who sleep on the sidewalk before black Friday. The thing is I don't buy it for myself. The best part of the tradition is to send it to my sister Linda who turns it into a Christmas stocking worthy of every treat Santa wants to stuff inside.
Linda is one of my very favorite people. She is kind and giving all year long, but at Christmas she has a way of ramping up her generosity that makes me both grateful and tired. I don't know how she does it all and still keeps a smile on her face. Linda has often told the story that as a kid growing up, no matter how bad things got at home, she knew all she had to do was hold out til Christmas. Everything was always okay at Christmas. I get the same feeling when I see the stockings she makes.
This year's crop!
I am keenly aware of what was happening this time last year. I get sad and don't know what to do with that sadness. It's pretty hard to be merry and sad at the same time. I want to honor the holiday, enjoy what the season has to offer. But I'm afraid seeing the empty chairs at the Thanksgiving table and missing a certain old man who acted like a Scroogey curmudgeon and a little kid at the same time. I can't say how the holidays are going to go for me. Whether I will go all out decorating, singing, baking, and wrapping or just put up a tree and go with a simple Bah Humbug theme. One thing for sure, I'll hang up the stockings made with love and know that somehow everything is going to be all right.
Today I'm grateful for a big sister to lean on. And I'm grateful for holidays made special by two people who didn't always know how to show their love, but let it shine on Christmas morning.
Wishing for you joy, no matter where it comes from.