December 20, 2020-Keeping the Holiday Spirit Alive
There is no ideal Christmas; only the one Christmas you decide to make as a reflection of your values, desires, affections, traditions.Bill McKibben
I have always loved Christmas, from the anticipation of Santa’s magic as a young child, to the traditions, stories, decorations, and the heart filling music which celebrates the wonder from over 2000 years ago.
In a typical year, we begin decorating in the first part of November for our Artisan’s Holiday Open House. I love the beauty of our home when it’s filled with greenery, handcrafted decorations, & treasured mementos. Having collected Christmas decorations and ornaments my whole adult life, we have one whole section of the basement dedicated to its storage. I usually look forward to unpacking each box, delighting in the memories that emerge. Some of them can be bittersweet. Signed ornaments from loved ones who have passed on, always bring a sense of loss and sadness. Sweetness from the memories of their love, and sadness for the loss. Ornaments created by our children and now grandchildren, always bring a smile. One Santa, fashioned by our eldest daughter in kindergarten, is now tattered after 36 years, but still has a place of honor on our “Santa shelf”.
But 2020 has brought its own set of challenges due to the pandemic. Whether you celebrate Chanukkah, Kwanzaa or Christmas, our usual traditions have altered, to keep everyone in our family and friends healthy. In our home, the usual tradition of a family Christmas Day, will not happen. We won’t be inviting friends over for special holiday dinners, and the Artisan’s Open House is rescheduled until 2021.
Several weeks ago, I cleared off our usual decorations to make room for the holiday paraphernalia. But I found myself uncharacteristically reluctant to even begin decorating. Until a wise friend, Marcia D., told me today, that even though she sadly won’t be seeing her family either, she decided to do a modified version of her home’s Christmas “transformation”. She’s pulled favorite pieces out, bought a few new ones, and created little festive vignettes around her home. Sitting quietly with a cup of tea, she gazes around her home, and it makes her content. Definitely not the same as prior years, but the comfort garnered from the ritual decorating of her home, provided a beacon of light in challenging times.
After our phone call, I looked around at my empty tree and spaces and decided she was right. I do love the process of transforming our home into a festive, welcoming place. While I won’t be going to the expanse that we usually do, it will still give me the pleasure of designing spaces featuring pieces I love. We can choose what traditions we will celebrate and which ones to put aside for next year. Perhaps new rituals will be discovered along this unprecedented path. Tonight we are finally decorating our tree.
If all goes well, we’ll continue our family tradition of decorating a tree for the birds with our granddaughters, set up a creche together and watch our favorite Christas movies; but any actual plan for getting together with our whole family remains nebulous. We will sing along to holiday music, wrap presents, and treasure any time we do spend ( albeit with Covid precautions) with loved ones…..even if it’s a Zoom gathering.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.Helen Keller
My Christmas wish this year doesn’t come in a package. It comes from the heart-filled hope that we can somehow heal the division in our country, defeat the virus, and reignite the twin spirits of care and compassion for others. To be able to spend time together with our loved ones, without the worry of infection would be the greatest gift of all.
How are you finding balance with the expectations and traditions of our holiday season during the reality of a pandemic? As always we thank you for reading our blog and welcome your responses or quotes to share.
We wish for you and your family a happy, and healthy holiday season. Here are some additional quotes to both comfort and inspire you.
Best regards, Wendy & Ron
Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.Dale Evans
Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.Peg Bracken
Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.Norman Vincent Peale
Let us remember that the Christmas heart is a giving heart, a wide open heart that thinks of others first.George Matthew Adams
Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.Laura Ingalls Wilde