Some people finish their holiday shopping in August, or even on December 26 for the next year! It works well for them. It would not work well for me because I have to confess that I love the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, and yes, even the chaos.
I don't mind the last-minute wrapping, or even the hunt for that present I know I bought but can't find because I put it somewhere "safe."
And here is my second confession. Sometimes I start Christmas music before Thanksgiving. I have to be bold when I do that because as many of you know, there are those who are totally opposed to early Christmas music. This does not make sense to me, but I am tolerant and I try to respect their wishes.
When I was growing up, Christmas was the only time of year when happiness or joy was tolerated. There was a circumspect nature surrounding most emotions in the family, because, well, depression was the cloak my parents wrapped around themselves most of the year. I think it was an attempt to balance out the mania that often manifested itself and went too far outside the bounds of accepted normal behavior. My mother suffered from bipolar disorder, and I am pretty sure my father was dogged by depression most of his life.
But, well, Christmas was Christmas, and nobody could be too upset about shopping and presents and planning for special meals. It was the season. And it gave some of the mania a reason. And it gave my father an outlet for his music. He sang in the church choir, and often did solos or duets. One year he narrated the Christmas pageant. So his depression lifted seasonally, a bit. Always on guard though, in case things went too far. So it was a guarded kind of happiness, and never quite reached the level of pure joy.
I remember one holiday season that was preceded by an unusually heavy fog of depression. So much so that I forgot that Christmas was coming. I was in the basement of Newberry's Dime Store and as I wound my way through the aisles, suddenly there was a whole counter displaying boxes and boxes of shiny ornaments. I remember in an instant feeling lifted up by the red, green, blue, gold and silver and catapulted forward through that cloud of gloom and into a feeling of pure happiness.
So now I try to recreate that burst of joy by filling the corners of the house with light and color. And music plays as I mess around in this huge collage of Christmas, making chaos and then turning it into order, paving the way for celebration with family and friends.
We will eat, drink, and we will definitely be merry as we share our light and color with one another, our kids and their kids, extended family and friends. To all friends and family celebrating elsewhere, you will be with us in our thoughts!
Wishing you all your heart can hold this happy season, and hope for all the dark corners of our precious world where the weary struggle towards the light.