Thursday, December 16, 2004

Choice Decoration

Christmas tends to get a little more exciting than I'm usually prepared to handle. School programs and parties scurry out of the paneling like happy little woodlice, and church activities multiply exponentially, all assuming my cooperative--nay, joyous participation. Shopping necessitates getting out of the house (to my introverted distaste) and going to places where there are people en masse scurrying around like more happy little woodlice, and then, when I finally acquire and bring home the booty, it lounges around on my floor demanding wrapping paper, tape, ribbons and bows, gift bags, tissue, name tags and peeled grapes. Christmas decorations drag themselves blearily out of my closet, displacing everything "stored" between themselves and the door. They yawn and stretch themselves out across the living room floor and over the dining room table in languorous poses, batting their tinsel flirtatiously in my direction and waiting to be placed around the house in locations that will show them to their best advantages. It can get a little overwhelming, all this catering to expectation.

For a couple of weeks, I've felt building holiday tension and ignored it. Today I realized I can't ignore it any longer. Standing in Borders bookstore, a book of Mary Oliver's poetry in my hand in a desperate attempt to regain perspective, I came face to face with the fact that I was too wound up to read. This just does not happen. Something had to give.

The trip home afforded me some time to think, to steady, to kick a clear place in the festive jumble of holiday happenings and make some choices.

1). Whatever decorative Christmas objects aren't already out. . .ain't goin' out.

2). Gift certificates for everyone! (Border's personnel love me.)

3). Laundry and dishes are festive when they're clean.

4). Going to every church and social function of the season. . .is utter nonsense.

Peace on earth and good-will toward other human beings are the best ornaments of the season, and the ones for which I'll willingly reach out my hand in fragile hope and wonder this Christmas: in hope of grasping them more firmly and surely this year, and in wonder that they're possible at all despite the chaos we make of the season.

All the other ornaments can go back in the box.


Anonymous said...

Good for you, girl! As you know, we don't do much Christmas "stuff" at my house, partly because we usually spend the week at my folks' but also for other reasons you know. :) This year the creche is on the piano (thanks to the boy) and I believe a few lego folks are hanging on the jade tree (also thanks to the boy, although I'm not sure if they're meant to be Christmas decorations or something more macabre; I choose to think the former for my own peace of mind!). And wrapped presents for the various family members are awaiting my completion of finals so K can pack them into the car. But I sat tonight and stared at three round containers of bath crystals for the various moms/moms-in-law and simply couldn't think of any way to wrap them sans boxes (which of course we don't have except for humongous ones that K's power tools came in) or gift bags (which only exist in the very young birthday variety in our house), feeling guilty and evil for not only not being able to come up with something creative but not wanting to, either -- and then a light went on and something said -- Mother has ribbons; ribbons can be taped to lids; the crystals would be very pretty under the right color of ribbons. So the containers sit unwrapped waiting to be packed and I have time to read your wonderful commentary!

May the rest of your Christmas season be filled with peace and simple enjoyment of the ones you love in the light of His love.

love you, dear friend!


Anonymous said...

Great Scott! says:

I taped a Christmas card to the door of my classroom. Does that count?

Abby said...

I agree about church activities. I am supposed to be joyous about it all, but how many hours are there in a day in December? Still just the 24, isn't it? And I find that however organised I am I still have the rigmarole of standing queuing up at the post office for half an hour with two fractious kiddies trying to post huge bulky presents that noone will like anyway. (My sister's gift is a calendar and it got wet in the rain as I was going to the post office - I know she will notice the wet borders and will cast this up to me for many years to come!) Why do we do it? Why do we send each other gifts? Why not just send gift vouchers? But after a while it just seems pointless - I send x £20, x sends me £20, we are even. Why bother? Oh well. Will all be over soon!

Feeble Knees said...

Well said indeed. I'm not having the best of pre-holiday days myself today. Am about to chuck everything out the window and buy tickets somewhere out of town instead!

Agh! one more week, one more week...

Isn't it terrible I'm almost wishing myself past what should be such a happy day? Lord forgive me!

Joyella said...

I learned to scale way back because the first five or six years of marriage we didn't celebrate Christmas at all.(M's reasons, not mine) And so I have very few decorations, and the kids aren't used to tons of gifts, but I still don't like that I am stuffing my own stocking. I like a little bit of a surprise. Despite it all I am feeling groovy after my cosmo tonight. I may actually do some holiday sewing....

Joyella said...

Ou est Lucindy?

Cindy said...

Beth--"The boy" is fun. His warpedness is part of his devastating charm. Hope you're all having a good visit at your folks'!

Great Scott!--Yes. Anything you do counts as festive! Wearing that miniature Christmas ornament as an earring to school this week counts as especially festive. :D

Abby--I'm sorry for all your struggles these last couple of weeks. Our families are both full of book-nuts, so when we can't get together, we've used's wish lists to send gifts, sometimes. That's been a great help to all of us. Hope the pressure is easing off this week.

Feebs--Two more days. Two more days. Two more days. :::deep breath::: Two more days. Two more days. Two more days. ;)

Joyella--Raise those kids right, and they'll soon be stuffing your stocking with surprises. :::forseeing 1/2 frozen lizards and homemade masterpieces crumpled into the stocking toes::: Holiday sewing? You are a creative woman and an ambitious one. :) Hope you enjoy!