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 husband 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!
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.
Merry Christmas! C