I am not very fond of Christmas as a cultural event. For years I liked it and I did so much of my family’s work of preparation. Because my Mother was busy teaching first grade and my brother and sister needed more time with school work and all of their activities. My Mother would say, “You have a great talent for organizing, here is my list.”
So between school, scouts, church, and singing nearly everywhere I could, I would do the shopping and prepare a menu and figure out when my Father and brother would go and chop down a tree and our family would decorate. I even did most of the gift shopping as I got older and the mythologies were banished. I always had several friends I could celebrate Chanukah with and I faithfully lit the candles each night and sang my own songs. I gave myself a chocolate coin for each candle, just like my Great Grandmother would have done.
Since my brother and sister refused to celebrate Christmas with my family in my later years, I just focused on my Mother and my own children; I was still using my Mother’s list.
I spent several Christmas’ in the dorms at college and graduate school. I could not afford to go home. I found I enjoyed working the extra shifts and I enjoyed singing for the folks who were at the hospital where I worked. My church activities were often huge at this time of the year, and I would approach the New Year in full out exhaustion.
The last few years I have been changing my patterns and looking at my traditions. I love having the kids come home and they love having a tree. We kept that. It is interesting to me that all of my children are involved with music this time of year and their MP3 players are full to the brim. My husband likes the lights trimming the house and the Blue Spruce in the back yard. He accomplished this feat and cleaned the gutters at the same time!
3 people desire magic gifts in stockings and one does not want that junk! So everyone is playing a bit of Santa’s job with the stockings. Doesn’t want junk girl is getting one item from her requests in the stocking.
I am going to clean the house and decorate the tree with my partner, because one wants the tree just there to dazzle her senses. I hope you have noticed that I am not doing all the preparation work here. The preparation work is evolving out the family’s wishes and important parts. It is not my event and my orders, and my plans….this is a time of year which we pull out what is meaningful to us and brings us closer together.
The gifts of the season for us are the moments of preparation. It is all the rehearsals with the Winter Warblers, the Bell Choir and the Peace Choir, it is the assessing our needs and wants and getting the other trappings out of the way, and it is the doing for others that makes this our celebration like no other and prospers the true magic of love – it is the Holy Work.
Is preparation the sacred ground or just a traditional habit? Does the preparation assist you in your enjoyment of the experience? Do you enjoy the planning the preparation or do you prefer that is just happens to you?
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