A Few Weeks ‘Til Christmas—A Gift for the Weary

Weary‘Twas a few weeks before Christmas. Not a creature was stirring, except for the mother. There were clothes to be folded, parties to plan, stores to be shopped for 52 people, plus the school bus driver and kind widow next door.

Though the world was all nestled knee-deep in the snow, nightmarish to-do lists danced ’round in my head.

My pillow, cold and lonely, was waiting for my long winter’s nap, but there was, quite simply, no rest to be found.

Deprived of sleep, my brain went all wonky, my temper was shrinking, while my waistline expanded, and I’m dead certain it was torture.

Cookies to bake, but my brain’s on log sawing. Was that one cup or two? One and a half will do.

I’m waiting for St. Nick to pop from the chimney all jolly and droll. But I’m afraid he’s not coming and I’m all on my own.

I may have to rethink the ban on his shelf elf’s patrol…if only it means he’ll help fill the stockings.

I can’t keep my eyes open.

My head falls to the counter with a jerk. And I turn with a lurch, while laying fingers aside my noggin, I fall into my bed, eyes closed in an instant.

Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night.

May you find a smidgen of peace…
and perhaps a nice nap.

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Ode to Tradition

traditionThese days we are full-flung into the season of family and celebration. It’s all making me feel a little bit like Tevye from the famous musical, Fiddler on the Roof, stomping around the house crying, “Tradition!” I’m just missing the big bushy beard and belly to jiggle…OK a few other things too. But you know what I mean.

So here’s my nod to tradition:

At my house, we’ve already hosted Thanksgiving, gone to the tree farm, and trimmed our tree. We’re edging into December and we’re living in Thanksmas at the moment—halfway between pumpkins and snowflakes…Tradition!

We’ve made gingerbread houses and peppermint bark, we’re prepping for Christmas cookies and eating leftover pecan pie. My waistline might be expanding if I didn’t hit the treadmill at 5 am…Tradition!

My kids try to sneak peaks at the packages I’ve hidden on the top shelf of the closet. I’ve been bit by the same generous bug as St. Nicholas and there are presents for nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, grandmas and grandpas, including a new game for us to all play together…Tradition!

Somewhere under a pile of school papers is the advent calendar. Every night, we clear space enough space on the table to avoid a fire hazard, when we light the Advent candles, and read a special Christmas book…Tradition!

We’ve smiled for pictures that are perfect. Stuffed messes away. We clean up real nice, but we’re starting to fray.

So purpose and meaning we seek, packing shoeboxes full of toys for kids who’ve nothing, put together scarves for the homeless, given presents to the local foster group home. And, while good and necessary and right, it still lacks a bit of something.

Perhaps it’s a leftover melancholy from my childhood, where traditions were few and far between. But as I sit here in the quiet, with my coffee, I wonder if meaning comes less from tradition, and more from the consistent presence of a loving friend or parent.

So yes, tradition has purpose and contributes to meaning. But it’s my presence inside those traditions that make the difference. And somehow that’s a little freeing.

Wishing you a blessed week…and one full of meaning with a side of holiday tradition.Tweet This

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Why I Hate Christmas

IMG_4217I’ll be honest, most of the time I love Christmas. It is, after all, the most wonderful time of the year.

But the Christmases of my distant memory are often haunted with darkness and loneliness—a desperate longing unmet.

Perhaps that’s why I work so hard to make Christmas full and bright, as much for my kids as for my husband and me. A celebration of all the good, happy, pretty things.

Red and green. Gold and silver.
Polished up kids, on the best behavior.
Shiny packages, bright with promise.

For the most part, and for most December 25ths, the magic glitter of Christmas works. But any one day can’t live up to the burden consistently and it frays at the edges, threatening to rip open from the pressure of little sleep, excess sugar, and packing in too much in too little time with too many people.

It’s a wonder we ever make it through without falling through a chasm—a la Griswold Christmas.

Continue reading “Why I Hate Christmas”