Christmas this year was one of the best ever. Our family is large and several members have birthdays in December. There is even one on the 23rd and one on Christmas Eve. These family members have parties in addition to the Christmas parties already scheduled by friends and families. None of the parties were canceled. And they were all a lot of fun. The weather was mild, and we were often outside for hiking and eating. At one birthday, the “Taco Man” made tacos at his “station” set out in the yard. At another party, sipping Bloody Marys around a fire pit on the brand new terrace was a new treat. Roasted oysters, smoked salmon, delicious food in a new house full of decorations and greenery for a midday Christmas Day feast. There were newly gifted puppies and old dogs in the last days of their lives (RIP Angus). Most of my grandchildren are grown up but there were little children from extended family who were in an ecstasy of anticipation before the BIG day. For me, Christmas culminated in a gorgeous meal with one of my daughters who does not live in Charlottesville. She and her husband and their family were all there at once. This is rare as two of the couples have been living on the west coast. Spending time with each of them was one of the best gifts I received for Christmas.
The Christmas lights that were all over Charlottesville and the surroundings appeared magical. In fact, some people have gone to extreme lengths to decorate their entire yards, causing traffic to slow down to look at the show. During the 1940s and 1950s people lit their houses with colored lights in a way that seems positively sedate by today’s standards. My parents put Christmas lights on two tall evergreen trees at the East end of the house. As little children, we loved seeing them shine. Later we had a lit outdoor tree on the flat roof of the “garden room” and we could see it from the large “picture window” in the “playroom where we often ate dinner, my brother and sister and I. Also, there was an elaborately painted wooden board cutout of Santa with a pack of toys on his back. This was lovingly painted by Jules Fritz who worked for our family. His artistic talents were extensive and we reaped the benefits all over our property. This depiction of Santa glowed when it grew dark due to a spotlight well placed by Jules.
However, in today’s Christmas world the outdoor lighting is what I can only describe as “over the top” in some areas around Charlottesville. It is fun to see where the imagination takes these people. And I am always thrilled to see these displays. The length and breadth of which extend all over a large yard in some cases. What about the electric bill, I always wonder? Joyous and exuberant, these lighted wonderlands show that people are not all cloistered in their houses cowering with fear. Peace on Earth and Good Will Towards Man is exuded by the cheery and imaginative displays. Christmas lights are splendid!
This season was full of loving gestures from different members of the family which warmed my heart. There were some challenges due to different belief systems but they never dampened the festivities. Grateful does not begin to describe my joy at the way these were resolved. Thank you to all of my family for being so loving and generous of spirit.
Over the week or so before Christmas, I was often among others huggings and kisses abounded. Singing carols and sharing cookies and general togetherness was never marred by a single mask. Only on the day after Christmas did I see one (extended) family member drive in a mask which was quickly dispensed with when he saw everyone else looking normal.
Being with others is healthy in every way. Our bodies thrive on human contact. We are herd animals and isolation is a form of torture. It also weakens our immune systems. It clouds our minds. In some cases, it can increase paranoia and all sorts of mental disorders. It is used to break down the will of prisoners in jail. So why would you impose this on anyone whom you love? You need to let your immune system grow. It is Christmas. Love your neighbor, don’t shun him. (or her)
The New Year is approaching! It is almost here. Let’s all pull together to make it a marvelous year of growth and exploration, new businesses, and renewed friendships. We need to stop isolating people and get together. Watch sports, go to concerts and dine out often. Enjoy your friends and family and the blessings of abundance this country offers all of us.
Don’t let anyone tell you this is not important. It is the MOST important thing of all, aside from praising our Higher Power and giving thanks.
Copyright©. 2021 Bonnie B. Matheson