I find myself fighting back the blues this time of year. It should be the happiest time of the year, as the Christmas season is my favorite time. I should be honest--it's the time leading up to Christmas that I like best. But already, I'm thinking of all I will be missing in January. And I'm haunted by Christmases Yet to Come, when loved ones won't be here.
I summon my best Zen Kristin, trying to live in the present moment and not get swamped by the past or sunk by the future. I am not talented at being Zen Kristin.
This year, when I feel pangs ("Oh no, by this time two weeks from now, all the Christmas lights will be gone!"), I use those feelings as a reminder to appreciate Christmas elements now, while they're here.
So, I've been making a concentrated effort to go out on a walk every night. We choose a different street and go out to enjoy the lights.
Instead of trying to bake every Christmas treat I've ever loved, I've relished the Christmas cookies I made for the cookie exchange and the bet I lost. Will I make more before the season is over? Maybe. But if I don't, that's OK. I can always make them in March, for an out-of-season treat.
I've accepted that I won't play every Christmas CD that we own. That's OK. It will be a future Christmas season before we know it, and I'll play them then. I've been trying to remember to play them when we're home.
We don't really have space for a big tree, so this year, I bought several smaller trees. Wherever I turn, a tree twinkles at me. The lights are what I like best.
However, last year I really missed seeing our collection of ornaments. So this year, they're displayed in a different way. I have a big bowl of glass ornaments. I have some ornaments that my grandmother made out of yarn and plastic canvas--I put them on the ledge of the non-functioning aquarium that's built into a wall. For a time, I tried to buy a Christmas ornament during every trip. Now I've hung them over knobs and put them on shelves. Every time I turn around, I see evidence of a good life, both mine and others.
When it's time to put these things away, I'll miss them--but part of what makes them so special is that they're not on display year round.
And because I'm a Lutheran, I try to stay cognizant of the fact that we're actually in the season of Advent, while I'm enjoying the Christmas elements. And so, we light the Advent wreath and keep it on display in the center of the dining room table to remind us that we're in the season of Advent. I read the Advent texts, which keeps me centered. I light the candles to watch for the Messiah--or in my case, I plug in the lights for the little Christmas trees that I have while singing an Advent song.
In a few days, it will be time to shift into high gear in terms of Christmas season. And when it's over, I'll try to come down gently.
feeling the feelings…
2 months ago