For the entire month of December – in fact, from Thanksgiving on I spent my time on both the Blog and my Facebook Fanpage writing about Christmas Traditions (mine and other guest authors), giving “Helpful Holiday Hints” and showcasing beautiful examples of holiday décor. Who would ever guess that I, a decorator, a believer in all things magical for Christmas time and one who professes to know and expect décor detail would not decorate, bake, send cards or do anything traditional for the holidays? (Well, I did do Advent gifts though.) Seriously – even I wonder at this all. My entire life I have expressed the importance of traditions – particularly holiday traditions. I even sing the song, “Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!” throughout the year unaware that I am even doing it. Christmas and all its pageantry means that much to me.
Because of some necessary travel to Charlotte, NC next week and all it entails, travel there for the holidays was just flat not an option. So, there went being with my kids, grandchildren and God’s Littlest Angel. That’s one tradition down the tubes. Decorating for Christmas? I must confess I decided not to do that either. I left my entire collection of Nutcrackers, my collection of Santa’s and all my sentimental Christmas tree ornaments in their boxes in the basement. All I did was put a simple wreath on the front door and a Menorah (yes, my darling David is Jewish) on the antique side table in our kitchen.
Why did I ignore all the trappings of Christmas this year? Not even listen to any Christmas music either at home or in my car? Funny thing – in mentally and emotionally preparing for next week I knew I needed to be still. I needed to be quiet. I needed no distractions. So I decided not to indulge in any part of the traditional preparations for Christmas and instead use the time to reflect on the true meaning of the season.
Joy of all joys, I absolutely, positively celebrated Christmas and what it truly means.
I focused on PEACE. PEACE for myself and PEACE for people everywhere.
Now don’t get me wrong. The Friday before Christmas Eve I embarked on a very long morning of sitting on my pity pot. It didn’t help to talk to my sister-in-law, Becky and hear her excitement at this being the first year in a long while that all three of her boys, wives, fiancés and their dogs would be home for the holiday. Or hearing my sister, Mary Ann shout with glee on the phone that every single Christmas present was wrapped and ready and family was already arriving to start the holiday weekend. Or hearing that God’s Littlest Angel was walking and here I was in Chicago missing it all. Or, most of all, that my very own baby, my youngest son, Jimmy had become engaged to a wonderful woman (Lailuma) and I wouldn’t get to celebrate quite yet with them live and in person. Text pictures of her engagement ring didn’t do the ring justice I’m sure! Ugh… the pity pot sure got worn out that morning!
I tired of sitting on the pity pot though. So, I picked myself up, chilled a bottle of Veuve Cliequot for the evening and did what my heart, mind and body always craves – I went to nature. While walking in nature I reflected on the real side of things. The real side was this – I realized that I was thankful to have had the wherewithal to use the entire month of December for total quiet and stillness. With so much free time on my hands not devoted to the hustle-bustle of Christmas preparations, I gained so much insight. I want to share with you what I pondered, reflected on and learned over this last holiday season I chose to celebrate without all the glitter. And in the words of what many hosts say when announcing the winner on TV Shows like X Factor; I list the lessons learned and/or reflected on “in no particular order”:
- Like Dorothy in The Wizard Of Oz I have found that HOME has been here for me all along. I don’t have to be “home” in Charlotte with my kids and grandkids to have them at home in my heart. My heart home is always there ready to embrace them unconditionally wherever I be, wherever they be.
- I can really focus on the essence of Christmas without all the fluff, commercialism and festivities and wonder of wonders; it is awesome to do this.
- In loving and living with a Jewish man I can appreciate that mankind benefits most with an attitude of inclusivity and not exclusivity.
- The true meaning of the Christmas season is PEACE. No true peace can come without forgiveness of oneself, of others and of humanity as well.
- As much as I love music and in particular, Christmas music – Silence is Golden for it is in the moments of silence that we hear what we really, truly need to hear.
- I have learned on a whole new level what it means to live simply.
- Traditions won’t go away if you choose not to observe them on occasion.
- Memories never fade.
- Feeling lonely is a choice.
- Life is to be lived actively loving oneself, others and all mankind.
- PEACE requires action.
- Actions speak louder than words.
- The truth, ohhhh the sweet, wonderful truth will absolutely, positively set you free.
Happy New Year everyone! May 2012 bring you wisdom. Oh, and may it also bring you the courage to use it!