Christmas decorating is fun. But it is also frustrating; lights work, and then they don’t. Find the ones you like and then realize you need another length of that type. In order to find them, you may have to go to Walmart, Target, and Lowes; You can also order online. I have done all of those. I could write a whole post about the sort of help I got in those stores. Some salespeople were above and beyond and so cheerful and pleasant that I felt happy. Others were so unhelpful and unpleasant that they nearly spoiled my Christmas spirit.
All is well that ends well. The house is lighted beautifully now, and I am thrilled with the way it shows itself off. Lights are one thing that makes the evening look joyful at this season. I want to participate, but I don’t want it to look like a high end department store. Subtle is best, at this season, though some of you may think my lights are “over the top.”
Christmas can bring out the best in people. It also brings out the worst in others. For me, it has always been a magical time. But some of my Christmases have been happier than others. I know it is a tricky time of year for many people.
One year, I had a baby right before Christmas and learned a huge lesson. Because I was aware of my deadline, I made a major effort to finish before the end of November. Of course, I did not really make this deadline. But all of my Christmas shopping, wrapping presents, Christmas cards, and all preparations were done beforehand, earlier than ever before. There were only a very few last minute things to do. I wrapped a last present before going off to the hospital to give birth. I had Lilla just a few minutes after 5 pm on the 19th of December. It was the best Christmas ever!!
My young husband presented me with a shotgun as my main Christmas present that year. He was so pleased with himself. He assumed I would be as thrilled as he to be ready to go dove shooting next fall. But sadly, I was faking when I told him how much I liked his gift. A woman who has just had a baby is probably not the best candidate for a gun as a present. Luckily, the gesture and my reaction was immortalized in a photo. I know that the 410 shotgun was meant to be a loving gesture. It warms my heart, seeing the photo now. My third baby had just been born and I was still only 22 years old.
It amuses me to hear the way people talk about starting a family today. It is all part of a carefully laid out plan. For one thing they have total control of their pregnancies while we had almost none. Babies came or they didn’t. They used to call it “God’s will.” I loved having babies so I was “all in.” A large family made for a great Christmas celebration. We were proud of ourselves and joyful over the birth of all of our babies. We were surprised each time when we learned the sex of the baby at birth. There were no ultra-sounds. One of the best results of that Christmas baby was that from then on I insisted on having Christmas at our own house. No more traveling from one set of parents to another and having the main meal at Charley’s grandparents house. It simplified our lives for years to come.
Since that year, I have made an effort to finish Holiday preparations by the end of November. It rarely works, but I am way ahead of where many people are today, December 18th. Eight years later, when I had a second December-born child, I honed my skills further and determined to be done early. That was 50 years ago. Golly! That’s a lot of time to practice.
When you are not too stressed with having things “hanging over your head,” the pleasure of Christmas is more intense. The Christmas carols send shivers down my spine, and the very elaborate lights on houses bring warmth to my heart. It is such a wonderful time of year for those who appreciate it. For others, the season is bleak. Some have lost loved ones on or near Christmas. Others are in unhappy situations or have children who are in trouble. But no matter what, it is a season of hope, of goodness, and God’s love. Do not be afraid.
It is best not to listen to any modern people who might bring up something unpleasant like de-colonialized museums. Items have been removed because they offend some viewers. Seriously? Now they are real life Mr. Grintches. Some people refuse to say Merry Christmas even though it is actually a secular greeting and not religious to those who do not know for whom the season is named. The fact that there have always been celebrations around the time of the winter solstice should allow people to “lighten up” about celebrating. Even Christians celebrate in different ways and on different dates. For the few who wish to “cancel” Christmas, I say, “Bah Humbug!” to them.
I simply must not think about that because it destroys my Christmas spirit.
My house looks fabulous, festive, and festooned with tiny lights, wreaths, and ribbons. Friends and neighbors houses are bedecked with greens and ornaments. Parking lots, country clubs, and stores are looking cheerful and festive. People, in general, are full of goodwill toward men.
This year, as in so many previous years, I am giving a Christmas party. That requires extra work, planning, cleaning, and clearing out. Because I rarely use a caterer, it is necessary to be creative. Discovering delicious food that is easy to fix and keep fresh prior to the party and getting it done is nerve-wracking. But I have been doing this for so many years it is not intimidating. (Though sometimes about now, I ask myself, “What were you thinking?”)
Yes, terrible things are going on in the world. Yes, some people are miserable during this and other holidays. Forgive me if I just feel grateful and happy instead. My youngest grandson will stay with me for the first time this Christmas. Having a young person, nine years old, in the house makes it more festive than it has been in years. We will be hanging stockings in anticipation of Santa’s arrival. Or at the very least, there will be presents provided by one of his helpers. (Me)
I wish everyone of you a very Merry Christmas and the Happiest New Year!
Copyright©. 2023 Bonnie B. Matheson