I love just about everything about Christmas!
Including the fact that so many different festivities and celebrations, representing so many different cultures, occur at the same time. Sol Invictus, the Romans called this time. The Sun conquers. On the Solstice, and 4 days after, the Sun appears not to move from its low position on the horizon. Then, on the 25th, there is a perceptible rise. The Sun has once again conquered.
I can mark this change in the living room, as the sun at noon in midsummer barely comes into the living room, and now – when the sun is actually out – it hits the back wall and the big comfy couches are drenched in sunlight. It’s fun to watch these cycles – teaches me patience and trust.
I also love my own personal yearly rituals. Like wrapping presents. By sometime in late November, the prospective Christmas presents have spilled out of the gift closet and begun to take up residence on the floor in my office. Then, as I bring Christmas piece by piece and box by box out of the garage, the wrapping paper, gift tags and bags, possible mailing boxes, makings of wreaths and miscellaneous Christmas Merrys (as my sister Maureen calls them), gather by the filing cabinets and begin to tangle themselves up. More presents-to-be show up and now the situation is critical. Keeping a clear path to the computer becomes a challenge. And finding the right present at the right time – never mind five minutes before the right time – becomes a triumph.
Soon comes the mailing deadline for out of town gifts. My list becomes indispensable for remembering what I bought and who it was for. And none of these out of town folk would even open those boxes if I didn’t assure them that a loaf of homemade Christmas bread was included. That is always the first question!
So after I assemble the gifts, the boxes and begin the wrapping – I also have to make a major Christmas project out of the entire kitchen. The butcher block is covered with flour for 2 or 3 weeks, the giant mixer and all the goodies that go into the bread sit to the right of the sink, and all the loaf shaping, baking, cooling and bagging paraphenalia goes on the left. Plus the tiny pan that holds just enough butter and water sits permanently on the stove. Totally pleasurable for me.
By the time those gifts are in the mail and on their way, I am so deep into my Christmas pon farr that I cannot function on any other level. My mind slides right off other concerns – newspapers stack up, I can barely find my left-brained office (and the mixed brained one at home is now Christmas Central), I am preparing for gatherings here and going out to gatherings there.
For our family, Christmas Eve at my sister’s is one of the biggest events. And when that is over, the fever begins to subside. Christmas morning my grandson opens a present or two before he and his dad trek out to grandpa’s house. And I grab the Christmas mystery I’ve been savoring, a cup of Christmas tea, and spend most of the day on the couch, carols in the background.
This year, I baked the last loaves of bread on Christmas morning, and returned the kitchen to its pre-bread factory state. Boxing Day and the day after finished up the wrapping. Christmas with my son and his family, complete with a tofurkey, is this evening. We’ve held off most of the presents til tonite. Couldn’t stand to wait on all of them, of course.
And I’ll continue with Christmas walks and meals and high teas plus present exchanges with other friends until likely sometime in February.
I love the cycling of the season – the energy builds, peaks and ebbs. Leaving us with the slowly lengthening days, and time to rest our way to fresh creativity in the spring.
Thank you, Christmas!