Is it just me, or are we as a western society forgetting what it feels like to anticipate the anticipation of a holiday, season or milestone such as Christmas? (And this sentiment could be applied to other holidays spread throughout the year). But since Christmas is coming, and it is the biggest holiday of the year, permit me this rant. People are anticipating upcoming holidays for longer and longer spans of time so that when holidays like Christmas actually do arrive, the wonder, excitement and magic of it all seems to have dulled.
I am not just noticing that we are preparing earlier. This fact is obvious in light of the Christmas music that I was greeted to on Remembrance Day Monday this year as I walked into a local grocery store. A slight to our veterans, I might add. But still. I get it. People love Christmas. And so do I.
I realize that preparations have been pushed back further and further into the mid-early autumn days, so much so that often there is confusion in stores that are offering (albeit sometimes on clearance, but still…) fall furnishings, Thanksgiving décor, Halloween decorations and Remembrance Day themed items, all while the Christmas boxes are lying in store isles waiting to be unpacked. Meanwhile, we are unable to anticipate this most important upcoming holiday because we still don’t have closure on the one we’ve just finished.
I just want there to be a gap. Some white space between sentences, if you will. Let me end one train of thought before I begin another. And breathe, even just for a moment. That is all I am asking for- a bit of time in between holidays where one can just breathe, collect their thoughts, put away their camper and summer lawn chairs before they have to think about setting up and color co-ordinating/over-decorating the multiple artificial Christmas trees one might have set up throughout their house. Because truth be known. I personally still have one foot firmly planted in the season of summer, even though I am coming to terms with the fact that this is obviously fall; but might I add that autumn is as close to summer as one can get around these parts?
Call me crazy, but a few things need to fall into place for me before I can begin to embrace the Christmas preparations. First of all, I need to come to terms with the gift list. Who I am buying for, when the gifts need to be mailed/sent/delivered and how much I am spending. Secondly, I need a bit of snow, a drop in temperatures and a spare second to find the five totes in my basement marked ‘winter stuff’. And thirdly, I need my Christmas perspective firmly in place.
At the end of the day, and all humor set aside, here is my bottom line. For me, Christmas is the wonder. The wonder, indeed the miracle of it all. That first Christmas batch of homemade cookies fresh from the oven. The priceless expression on our children’s faces when the Christmas lights are turned on for the first time. It’s un-wrapping the precious pieces that comprise my delicate nativity crèche. And singing Christmas carols to that woman or man whose heart is breaking from receiving their devastating bit of bad news. It’s the greatest Christmas story ever told. Of the greatest gift ever given, wrapped in rags. Laid to slumber in a dirty feeding box. Born to die.
These are the reasons I celebrate the season.
It’s the simplest of things, but these are really the most profound. They are the miracle of Christmas, and they cannot be bought in a store or sold to me by the media. I just don’t want to miss the wonder of anticipating Christmas by spending the entire month of November waiting around for it (Christmas) to arrive.
Let’s just say that I want to wait to anticipate Christmas until I have my Advent calendar bought and the first door is spread back. That is when I will unleash my pent up Christmas spirit.