I had a difficult time getting into the holiday spirit this year. I would tell myself that I'm reasonably busy, but "busy" is just a euphemism for low priority, right?I didn't bake and pass out goodies. I didn't send sweets to work with Kevin. I just spent the days as I usually do, wondering why I wasn't getting into the spirit. We watched skaters in the park, dressed the dogs in Santa suits (it mortifies Kevin), and decorated the house, but it just wasn't there.
About a week before Christmas, I went into a grocery store and actually spent leisurely time enjoying shopping. I heard carols over the store speakers. The beauty of narcissus and poinsettias fed my wanting eyes. People were actually talking to each other, happily sharing their thoughts with strangers. There were scents of Christmas in the air. Peppermint soaps, hot chocolate, rib roasts cut and tied with bows. Exotic cheeses, fig spreads, and crackers sent my mind into overdrive with thoughts of the food I could prepare. Ribbons wrapped around would-be presents. People were dressed in holiday attire. I observed this with all of my senses. The spirit filled me up. I finally felt it. It was Christmas.
Two days before Christmas Eve and a few days after my grocery shopping sojourn, I decided to bake. Kevin is off work until after New Year's, and a friend came over. I was unleashed in the kitchen. I made salted caramels, bread, oatmeal cookies, butter cookies, and German Chocolate cake. It took all day to make and the dishes were everywhere.
The typical cookie-making stereotype is one that involves children. I have to tell you that making cookies with two grown men with no kitchen skills was a blast. I let go of my need for perfection and enjoyed the outcome. It was perfect in and of itself. I slept with tired satisfaction that night. It felt like Christmas.
We spent a quiet Christmas Eve together. Christmas day was spent with our friend that helped make cookies. He took us to a movie, and we came home and had rib roast baked potatoes, and roasted Brussels sprouts. Simple and delicious. It was a good day.
As I wrote earlier, Kevin is off this week. Christmas is over. There are no more carols playing on the radio or in the stores. New Year's is coming, and I've already seen Valentine's in the stores. I want to hold on to that warm all-is-ok-with-me-right-now feeling. But, I can feel it slipping away. I'm resisting moving away from Christmas. I don't want to take down the decorations. I want to continue to see friends' Christmas posts on social media. I admonish myself for taking so long to enjoy the season, because it's gone.
I'm feeling melancholy. The solstice has passed. The weather has become too cold to enjoy anything outside. Christmas is gone. Society will undoubtedly become too busy (there's that euphemism again) to care too much about being polite to strangers. Another year is upon me, which leads me to examine who I was, am, and want to be in my life. I am feeling a little sorry for myself, wondering why I "didn't do" earlier. Then, I remind myself of all the things I am thankful for. I quit making resolutions years ago. I believe if I can't do "it" at any other time of year, I'm not going to do "it" because of a date on a calendar. Yet, that date on the calendar still forces me to look in the mirror in a way that I don't any other time of year.
It's a strange transition between Christmas and New Year's. Maybe my brain has slowed down and I feel older. I resist feeling that I'm not the young and agile person I was in my earlier years. I've turned into my grandmother in some ways. I'm having a harder time with change.
However, now is the time when everything in nature shows me that it's time to retreat. There's a reason it's too cold outside, a reason the trees have lost their leaves. Nature hibernates and rests in the winter. It's time for reflection and examination. A time to refortify our bodies and souls. This time doesn't last forever, and I'm still learning to accept my life and seasons in a way that is compatible with, well myself.
So, I am going to take this time, right now, and accept the way I feel, examine the way I think, and take care of myself. I am going to be like Winter and hibernate until the first snow crocus shows the promise of Spring and fills my heart with hope. It's called balance. I will let go of the holidays and feel good about embracing the down time that has me feeling somehow a little sad. This time of year serves its purpose. That's why Winter.