This day before Christmas can be so hectic and positively overwhelming for so many people, and the older I get, the more I understand that it’s all a self-inflicted deluge. There are no “rules” of which I am aware that imply a child of a certain age is supposed to get a certain number of gifts, or that one has to spend an equal dollar amount per child, or have precisely the same number of gifts for each child under the tree, or that one even must have a tree, or play holiday music during the month, or visit family or…well, anything…as far as I know, or have been told, the holiday is what we choose to make it. We can create joy, kindness, loving feelings, and magnificently decorated sparkling surfaces, or we can do nothing different from what we do the other 364 days in the year.
I am neither religious nor a Christian, so the meaningfulness and formality of the holiday is not particularly significant for me. My family lives both within 1000 feet and 10 miles from me, so I’ve no travel obligations. My child is grown and married with children of her own, so there is no “necessity” to create this environment of toy explosion in my living room under the tree tomorrow morning. I’ve no spouse or in-laws so I don’t have those obligations to do “his family this year, and mine next year” as I frequently overhear women talk about in conversations during the holiday season. I don’t work at a job where we have a Christmas party or gift exchange. On this day before Christmas I am reminded that I have nothing to do but what I WANT to do.
What I want to do tonight is to read The Night Before Christmas to my granddaughters, as I did every Christmas Eve to my own daughter. I want to remember to get the candy canes in the flower pots before morning so that the children see their “harvest” from planting their peppermint seeds. I want to remember to take our ‘Elf on the Shelf’ Everbloom, off of the top of the Christmas tree, the same spot the girls have found her every Christmas Eve for the last four seasons, and hide her since she is supposed to be back in the North Pole before morning. What I want to do today is to get to the store to buy M&M’s for my boyfriend’s daughter’s stocking that is hanging on the fireplace and to remember to get extra batteries for gifts I bought for the girls and to get to my parent’s house with my homemade macaroons for my Dad and my orange rolls for my Mom.
I watch the news almost every night and I read “news” posts on social media every day…I know that so many people this day are angry at store clerks, upset in lines at the bank, irritated with gas station attendants, freaking out over airport delays and icy runways, honking over desirable parking spaces at malls, slamming shopping carts into rude aisle hogs at the supermarket, yelling because their bakery order or floral arrangements are not ready at 11 as they were told…I choose to not be involved in any of this unkindness or irritability or upset. I choose to play The Nutcracker, Johnny Cash’s, Elvis’, Frank Sinatra’s, and Nat King Cole’s Christmas albums, over and over over because I love them. I choose to enjoy each minute of each hour of this Eve of Christmas because I want to…and my Christmas wish for you is that you choose to do the same.