Riding Life!

Riding Life!
Life is like a wild horse--Unless you ride it, it will ride you! (from the movie: "Princess of Thieves.")

Saturday, December 11, 2010

C: The Diminishing Returns of the Holidays

 christmasfireplace When we think of holidays, we think of bustle, I know.  In my own life this is largely because I just haven’t gotten things done ahead of time, like I always plan.  But Christmas holiday preparations have their quiet serenity, too.  This morning is one of those times.

The bustle this week was at my work.  This morning, as I wrap gifts, son is snoozing on the couch, after having coffee and conversation with his Mom.  The hard rain I awoke to has softened to a drizzle with occasional patter, and inside my home is warm, snug and comfy, although it is not cold enough here for a fire in the fireplace.  I am, I know, drinking too much coffee this morning, but it is so good as I linger in pajamas and as I Scotch tape beautiful paper around these gifts.

As I wrapped, I realized that for years my gift list grew and grew with each year.  My sister and my youngest sister-in-law were prolific in their progeny (each with 4!) as compared to the other siblings and sibling-in-law and each year for a while it seemed that the gift list grew with a new niece or nephew.

Now I believe the procreation of my generation of the family is over (or there will be mental breakdowns, I assure).  And both my father and father-in-law are gone.  My stepmother is no longer in our circle.  Some of our “near-family” gift recipients have died.  And, of course, my husbandchristmas list has his own Christmas circle now and is certainly a major strike off my purchase list.  So I find that, after all those years of steady growth, my gift-buying list is declining, rather than growing.

Turning point reached.

There are other changes.  Since MIL has graced me with nearness, youngest SIL and her brood are quickly becoming a part of our Christmas tradition.   This year will be the second in a row in that they will fill our home for Christmas.  In years past we have always spent Christmases apart from them, making do with mailing gifts and telephoned Christmas Day greetings.  Son and I are thrilled.

I chuckled at myself in thinking how quickly we have adapted them to our own Christmas tradition—after one year and looking forward to a second.  I find myself thinking things like:  “E always wants a ‘real’ tree…we’ll leave that artificial one in the attic and choose one when she’s here to help…”  What’s this “always wants” after one year with us?  I think it means her wishes have been absorbed into our traditions—voila

Orchristmas gifts thinking: “Second Nephew of the Bunch cannot have chocolate, remember.  Must be sure to have plenty of cookies he can eat and eat and eat…”  Feasting is a hallmark of holiday, you know.

These four kids (some no longer really “kids,” but will always be so to me, are an absolute delight and added such exuberance to our holiday last year.  We await the same this time.

So, yes, my Gift-Person list has grown shorter.  But the pile remains impressive. 

Don’t panic—I don’t spend that much on gifts, but I adore seeing my Christmas morning attendees have multiple gifts to open.  I find that a small gift, a few Dollars’ worth and brightly wrapped, is a delight on Christmas morning.  So the pile is high, if not costly.

So, I’m happily at the Christmas business this morning in relaxed mode.  Seeing the seasons of my life marked by the length of my Christmas buy-for list.  And seeing the diminishment of that list juxtaposed against the adaption of new traditions as a reminder that loss is often exchanged for another kind of blessing.

And I am, this morning anyway, feeling the sentiment of this clipart.  Hope you  are, too.xmas

Merry Christmas!  C


Kitty said...

I hope the love and happiness in your hearts is magnified by the laughter and joy to be found in your eyes.

May you all have a truly magnificent holiday together. Because that is what Christmas means to me - family together, making memories, forging traditions.

Hug, quiches and kisses from Kitty xx

Happyone :-) said...

A lovely happy post. :-)

Paul C said...

Purchasing and giving gifts is filled with mixed emotions. I like the positive tone of your conclusion.

Vickie said...

This is such a thoughtful and thought-provoking post, C. I can feel your contentment as you wrap and think of the ones you love at Christmastime. Makes me think of my own loved ones. I have yet to get anything wrapped - heck I'm not through shopping yet! My daughter will be home from school in a few days after exams and she and will finish up this task!

Merry Christmas to you and yours! Enjoy each and every single minute!!!

Ayak said...

A lovely post. Christmas is all about family. I miss it when I'm not in England because we do not celebrate it here...although I have made a small attempt at entering the Christmas spirit by putting decorations on my houseplants!

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.....C and V....xxxx

Thoughtfully blended hearts said...

Hi ...Just found your blog and when seeing the photo in the sidebar realized you were probably about my age. Upon reading about your "goals" and "achievements" saw a lot of me in your activities. If you don't mind, I'd love to visit regularly and invite you to visit me also!!!
I was raise by a Mom who wanted me to be so independent and a Dad who helped me achieve a lot of that independence. Life sure takes a lot of turns!!!

Kathleen From Eggs In My Pocket said...

I hope you have much hope, love and happiness in your holidays! blessings,Kathleen

Sandra said...

I love it that you are embracing new Christmas traditions, friend. May your Christmas be wonderful, and memorable and full of even more new "traditions" that you will follow NEXT year. :)

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