Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Holiday Preparations

The space heater whirs at my feet. A red cinnamon-apple candle smells delicious. The artificial tree, just decorated yesterday, feels fresh. Old scared, scratched ornaments, inherited hand-me-downs, crocheted Santas and wreaths, children’s art projects, bread dough Clauses and gingerbread men—dates penned on their backs, adorn our sentimental corner of Christmas.

I’m late this year. Hauling the decorations down slowly from the attic, one plastic tub at a time, I’ve been searching for my Christmas Spirit. “Joy-filled,” we are told, yet the season seems lacking amid school shootings and church statues smashed. My friend’s mother died, reminding me of my own sweet mother’s passing. Thinking of friends sick in the hospital or nursing homes, I’ve been fighting the urge to stay in bed.

This year our children and grands are circling the tree to celebrate after the New Year. This has left more time for preparations, yet it seemed I was caught in an invisible tangle of tinsel, drawn up like cuffs around my wrists. In my youth I had it all under control, scheduled—marching orders written and performed to the tap of the little drummer in my head.

This past weekend, in lethargic desperation I decided to accomplish ONE TASK—mail a box to the relatives up North. It took two days, but this accomplished, the Holiday cuffs felt looser. Yesterday, I awoke and pulled the covers over my head, thinking—only a week away and no cards have been sent. Guilt crawled under the covers and tugged at the tinsel. Remembering my earlier ONE TASK premise, I got up, grabbed the first card on the stack, wrote ONE line, and signed my name. At 5:30 am on my way to the gym, I mailed my first holiday card. I shook the tinsel to the ground and decorated the tree in the afternoon.

Today I’m enjoying the stockings hung on the mantle and the musical snow globe sparkling in the morning sun, but there’s one more tub that must be procured from the dusty attic. A spot has been cleared, ready for the crèche, prepared for the Baby.

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