Wednesday, December 16, 2009
A season of wonder
This is my favorite time of year, next to Halloween, Beltane, Valentine's and all the other holidays. There's something so special about the feeling in the air of hope and excitement and good will toward men -- and women and children and old people and everyone.
For me, it's not about the gifts I get but the gifts I get to give. I get all squirmy with excitement and mischief when planning birthday and anniversary surprises, but this one is the big one. It's not a day for one special person but a lot of special people. My gifts are all sent off and I can hardly wait for the recipients to get them and be surprised. I don't have to know what they thought of the gift, which is why I send some gifts anonymously. The high is in the giving and not in the thanks or appreciation coming back.
This weekend I get my tree and I'm going to pull out all the decorations and lights and do it up right with hot chocolate, mulled wine and cookies still warm from the oven filling the air with spice and mingling with the scent of fresh pine needles and warmth. This is the season of wonder and happiness.
Yesterday Beanie said she was sad that I'd be alone during the holidays. I reminded her that I've been alone for a lot of years, to which she replied that it didn't seem that way when I lived in Ohio because she could come to see me whenever she wanted and now she can't. I spent most of my birthdays alone or with friends, but seldom with my own family. Mom always said she didn't remember when my birthday was. Thanksgivings were spent with friends and once in a while with family, but the visit was usually a couple of hours because I had to work. Hospitals never close and I worked almost every holiday. I spent a couple hours with family at Xmas Eve, always in someone else's home because I didn't have a family and everyone else did. Xmas day was always alone; I didn't want to intrude on others' family time. None of that mattered then and it doesn't matter now. I still have my season of fun and wonder and it doesn't always need to be populated by others.
There are times when I think about a quiet Xmas Eve spent with a like-minded someone. Decorating the tree, baking and enjoying a candlelight dinner for two, both of us dressed to the nines, an intimate evening for two. We'll open one gift each and spend the rest of the evening listening to Xmas music and watching a crackling fire while we talk, dance, reminisce and snuggle. Xmas morning, we'll have breakfast and hot chocolate, turn on the tree and unwrap the rest of our gifts to the sound of carols and bells, then spend the rest of the day enjoying each other. There don't have to be a lot of gifts or a sumptuous feast of food and drink, just the company of two people willing to open their hearts to each other and to the midwinter season of hope and happiness.
Yes, it sounds sappy, but this season of all seasons makes me feel sappy. Every time I watch Charlie Brown or Ralphie and listen to Xmas carols and holiday music I am once again struck by wonder and awe that in the midst of the darkest time of the year there are always candles and Xmas tree colors to light the way. I always feel like a kid again, unable to sleep on Xmas Eve because of the spectacle and the feast of the senses that awaits me in the morning. I still can't sleep on Xmas Eve and I expect I never will. I'm too busy listening for Santa's sleigh and the jingle of the harness on the reindeer even when he doesn't stop at my house. Besides, I don't have a chimney.
Happy holidays to everyone. May the spirits of the season infuse you with the excitement and happiness of Scrooge on Xmas morning.