It’s that time of year, time to clear away the clutter in front of those red and green storage tubs and bring out the decorations. I’ll call it Christmas, that’s my tradition. It starts with Diwali, Festival of Lights. There was a Celtic/ pagan tradition at Solstice but the Christians used that to represent that Light that came into the Dark. (You can’t take away a good holiday). And Hanukkah, with the Menorah, call it whatever you like….. every religion and society had a way of getting together to light up the darkest and most dismal days and ward off deep, dark depression and isolation.
The sun is taking the low road and can’t make it above a row of cedars lining my driveway. My deck is in the shade all day now so my string of solar lights is too weak to find my key at night. The porch light looks bleak, especially with no snow yet. It’s been warm for November, the grass is still green.
Way back when I was young and trying to get pregnant, I didn’t do any Christmas decorating. I had it in my mind it would be for the kids, when I had them. After eight years of trying, I started to let go and consider life without children. Did that mean I was never going to ‘do’ Christmas and have a tree because I didn’t have kids?
The first year I decided to have a Christmas tree my husband reacted in the usual way; grumpy and calling it stupid, he cut a skinny Charlie Brown tree from our property with a “here’s your tree”. I bought some cheap bulbs and lights from Zellers and decorated it. He liked it.
The next few years he did a complete about-face and got into it. He paid $60 for a tree because it was Balsam Fir. We started buying decorations after Christmas on sale and got excited the next year with our ‘new’ and forgotten decorations. We bought fake pine boughs, strings of lights and a big red and green storage tub for it all. A few years later bought another big storage tub just for the lights.
When we broke up he brought me both tubs and said, “you might as well have these”. I offered to split everything but he said, “no” in a way that said, “no, I’d rather be miserable”
I’d rather be happy. Bring any bit of light and joy that I possibly can into the world, my world at least. It makes me happy to do it and to come home to it. You can’t see my house from the road and people rarely come here; I do it for myself.
I’ve really been looking forward to today. I have the day off, it’s sunny and going to be reasonably warm….. again! I’m going to pull out those tubs and string up some white lights outside. Closer to Christmas I add a big star above the door and a light-up candy-cane.
Soon I’ll get my real, balsam Christmas tree, and yes, it IS worth the hassle. I laugh driving home with it stuffed into my hatchback. I cut the bottom with a saw and remember my Dad doing it. It takes me days to decorate it; a day for the branches to drop, a day for the lights then slowly the decorations go up in my spare time finding just the right spot. There is a whole box of icicles that have to hang just right.
(Here I am writing about it, procrastinating because of the clutter in front of the green and red tubs.)
This season is an opportunity for joy. Light up the gloom!