Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Through the Woods

I have embarked on a journey.
A slow one. I am not very far from the warmth of what I know.
My journey is taking me away from what has been the norm for Christmas celebrations.
It is slow because I just don’t know how to maneuver my way to this new destination I so desire. At the same time, there is much of what I know that I do not want to leave behind. The lights. The wrappings. The colors. The sounds. Ahhhh So sometimes the journey seems to hit a wall.
Several weeks ago I was hit with how close the Christmas season was. Dread washed over me. I have kept the decorations somewhat simple the past couple years.
But that is not where the drain is.
I hear that Christmas music has already started. But I have not tuned in, yet. See I like Christmas music. That is not the drain.
I noticed Hallmark Channel begins its holiday marathon on Christmas movies on November 5th (might be sooner, that is just the first one I NOTICED). I have to say I truly enjoyed all the new movies Hallmark had on last year. But I will not tune in quite yet. Again, not really the drain.
The drain has come from many years of trying to meet that expectation that sometimes comes with the season. The gifts!
Disappointment from others has added its barb. Somehow the idea that Christmas is about meeting a wish list has trumped the real joy of giving: being simple and thoughtful.  I too have inflicted a few barbs on myself. How do you gift someone who has so much? Or how do you gift someone that buys what they need when they need it? Or once I decide, I second guess whether they will like it. Do you gift them by donating to those who really do have a need? Not necessarily…
Then there is the whole focus of the season. The commercial aspect has become the major vein of the season. And I have perpetrated that version year after year after year. I want to celebrate Christmas to share the joy of the God I so believe in. That has given so much to me. That has so much to give everyone.
So the spot I found myself in last year and again this year is, how do you give, spread joy and most importantly, share the Good News! (and keep the fun magical aspects of it: decorations, wrappings, visits, good food).
Last year I did take one initial step: No one is to ask me what I want. My feelings on this is: if creativity and simplicity fail to elicit a fun or simple or heartfelt gift, please, by all means, make a donation to a charity in my name! I really have all I need and I don’t really want for anything. I don’t wish for anyone to buy something for me for the sake of buying something. And definitely no store gift cards. I think those are great for young adults who are setting out on their own or on a tight budget. But if we are all going to just be exchanging gift cards, let’s end this and keep our own money and make a donation.
This year I remain adamant: if you have to ask, please skip me.
While I was dreading all this way too early, I did start buying. And wrapping.   Ok,  ok, ok.  That sounds a little silly so early, but it was the best thing I could have decided for my mood.
With Traveler now living in another state. Her gifts will be mailed. Last year was the first, and we saw a great appreciation for the thought behind the gift. For the gifts from those far away. The gifts were not elaborate.  The Man wrapped up a dozen Cow Tails, since that is one of her favorite candies. Gloves, an ice scraper, a gas card. Other family members placed items in the box. She really seemed to appreciate the box. The appreciation was much different and much more sincere then Christmases in the past.
So this year, I have bought a small counter top size tree, a string of lights and garland, and we will add a few more goodies to the box. We had to “build” a box to fit – and that is done. And full of Christmas glitter. More little wrapped goodies will be added and the box will be sent the first week of December. This did wonders for my attitude! The excitement and fun of putting together a goodie box: fabulous.  It has taken away from my Bah Hum Bug mood and I am having so much fun! The proven: giving is best.

But I am still wanting to find a way to make Christmas about more than the gift hunt and gift receiving. I want to get the focus more about the wonders of God and his provisions and love and expressing that to others. How do you do that when your kids are about grown (or grown)?  What can be added into the routine that will begin to feel normal and not be a trying too hard move?
Which leads me to: what traditions or what new activities do you have that ease this hectic season? That balance the expectation with the peace? The giving with the receiving? The reaching beyond our own little world? How do you put it all together so all can be magical?

Can't wait to hear . . .


FancyHorse said...

Christmas is our celebration of Jesus' birthday, so we try to give Him what we know He wants. He's told us in His Word: Love one another, feed the hungry, care for the afflicted, tell everyone about His love and atonement for our sins. It really doesn't have to be elaborate, does it?

Steve said...

Reading this is a stress reliever. Reminds me of what is important.

Good luck if you make the cranberry sauce. Enjoy! Will keep in the fridge for weeks.