I was beginning to wonder if I’d feel it this year with all of the rushing around at break neck speed for far too long; that feeling that Mom called the ‘Christmas spirit’. I remember so well when she came under its infectious spell; she would decorate, bake cookies, hide the small gifts she was able to purchase. She would break into song out of the blue:
“Christmastime! Merry time! All the world’s a’hummin! All you see are filled with gleeee (held out for an inordinately long time)…Cuz Santa Claus is commin’ Wheeeee!” (With ‘Wheeeee’ being sung high and long.)
Here is an instructional video:
Oh, how I miss that woman.
It has felt as if I’ve raced through my life this semester like I was competing in an American Gladiators episode, working to survive one obstacle after the other. All good things individually for the most part, but all stacked together this semester was a formidable foe. I am numb from it all, just aching for time to be and to process without running to start the next obstacle course that comes all too soon. In all honesty, I have the holiday blues I suppose.
When we put up the tree after Thanksgiving and Dan left me to hang the ornaments once he’d strung the lights, I felt a spark of the Christmas spirit, with its edges dulled by the inevitable trickle of tears that came as I unwrapped each memory-filled treasure. The following Sunday it was right back to work and the hectic last weeks of the semester.
So here I am; I finished my last real work commitment yesterday morning, teaching a Masterclass to sixty high school clarinetists for our Honor Band Festival. I’ll still have some of the never ending office work and practicing to do (which I actually enjoy) and I’ll teach a few lessons, but I’ll also have a break between the semesters to recharge, along with caring for Dan who has knee surgery this week.
Finally, time to think about Christmas and waiting for the spirit to fill me as it’s always done. Our home is filled with lights and decorations, my baking supplies are out and ready for me to make tons of cookies for our neighbors and my precious seniors at Mom’s ‘Home for Wayward Seniors (aka, Princeton Towers).
That’s what does it for me, what fills my heart with that wonderful Christmas spirit; being home with Dan and the animals, having time to enjoy the beauty of our decorations and the memory-drenched tree, listening to Christmas music, writing cards and baking cookies for our friends. Little things, but they are Christmas to me. Not presents and the craziness of shopping in crowded stores, but spending time with people I love and giving a little something of myself to them- even in the humble form of cookies.
It always takes a few days for my mind and body to realize that I’m truly on vacation, as the go-go-go never seems to end. I’m hoping soon that I will feel myself finally let go, not feel guilty for sitting still and reflecting on the year past. Already this morning I had the luxury of going out to breakfast and then walking Marley in the late morning instead of racing her around the neighborhood pre-dawn before racing to school to teach. A slower pace that I am looking forward to making the most of.
Just writing about this, I feel some of the spirit creeping into my waiting heart. I think it’s time to get the music cranked up and the cookies baking…that ought to do it to start my merry little Christmas. Wishing you whatever the ‘Christmas spirit’ means to you, however you choose to celebrate.