Celebrate the day your way
Yo, ho, here’s Christmas! I hope your day is filled with joy. Whether you woke up surrounded by people or with a cat purring on your chest, please know that you are loved.
Maybe today will be chaotic, with lots of family, visitors, gifts and food. Or maybe it will be quiet and contemplative, with good soup and a nice afternoon nap.
If you relish being among friends and family, mazel tov! I love my tribe, but it only takes a few hours of frenetic activity before I start looking for a place to hide. After opening gifts, gobbling breakfast and cleaning up a three-foot mound of wrapping paper, tissue and ribbons, I’m ready to retreat to my room. But apparently it’s considered rude to go back to bed when you have company. Go figure.
If you’re alone today it’s not a bad thing, or a reflection of you as a person. I’ve spent a couple of Christmases alone and honestly, they were great days. (The hardest part is convincing people that yes, you really do want to be alone and no, you’re not going to get drunk and cry all day.) I slept late, opened a couple of gifts and went to church. Then I crashed with my dogs in front of the fireplace and ate Hershey’s kisses in the red and green foil. No mess, no stress. The next day I felt renewed and rested.
Speaking of renewed, lots of people have Christmas traditions that they renew faithfully every year. You might hang homemade stockings, or host a tree-trimming party, or send Christmas cards by Dec. 1. (Hahahahaha! I mean, good for you!) Maybe you donate to a worthy charity, or faithfully attend midnight mass. Or maybe your tradition is that you have no Christmas traditions. That’s OK, too.
What’s your favorite Christmas carol? I have so many: “Angels We Have Heard on High,” “Joy to the World,” “Deck the Halls”… and the list goes on. I also like Elton John’s “Step Into Christmas.” That’ll make you toss the tinsel higher. But I could go the rest of my life without hearing “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” Nothing against Brenda Lee, but her croaky little rasp drives me nuts.
Confession: Sometimes I don’t decorate, except for displaying Christmas cards and piling presents I’ve wrapped on the dining room table. Some years December just flies by at warp speed…. then two days before Christmas Widdle asks, “Is it too late to get everything from the attic?” To which I respond, “Not if you plan to set it all up and take it all down.”
I’ve got the spirit of the season—I don’t own an Andy Williams album just for show-- but I’m not about to decorate on Monday and break it down on Thursday. So some years it just doesn’t happen.
Another confession: I’ve never watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “Miracle on 34th Street” or even “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” I watched “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” once as a child, and cried so hard for poor bullied Rudolph that my dad had to carry me from the room.
My favorite Christmas tradition is driving around to look at lights. I love to see houses and yards blazing with twinkling holiday displays. Many Summerville residents go wild with decorations, from crèches with Baby Jesus to an electrified Frosty the Snowman jamming on the front lawn. I love them all.
And you, too, dear reader. Enjoy your day.
Julie R. Smith, who actually likes fruitcake, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.