I put my Christmas tree up last week and Mom & I had our annual tree trimming party the other night. We have been doing that together every year since my parents retired to Florida in 1997 – Dad used to sit in the armchair and give us directions 🙂 – and it’s a special time for us as we hang the ornaments and share favorite memories. Baby’s First Christmas 1977. Fragile, paper thin glass ornaments, including a treetop star, Mom bought in Woolworth over 55 years ago that were on all my childhood Christmas trees. My Dad’s favorite – Mr. & Mrs. Claus fast asleep in their little cigarette box bed. Ornaments for my cats, Nettie & Ceilie, and my dogs, Stella & Liberty. We always have something good to munch on – this year it was my friend Karen’s delicious (and super easy!) lemon pie. Other decorations and lights have been added and my house looks twinkly, cozy and pretty. I like to sit at night with just the lights on the tree and a candle on the mantle illuminating my living room, Liberty snoozing on her bed, Christmas music playing softly. Ahhh.
Christmas is a special time of the year. Although Jesus is “the reason for the season”, you don’t have to be a Christian to appreciate the lights, decorations, music and food. There is also a feeling – let’s call it goodwill – that feels stronger during the Christmas season. Our hearts are more open, our spirits more generous. We are moved to donate to our favorite charities, drop dollars in the Salvation Army kettles, drop food off at the food pantries, get a toy for Toys for Tots, take clothes to the homeless shelter, and many other acts of kindness we might forget to do during the rest of the year.
We also want to draw our family and friends near to us at this time of year. My celebrations are pretty low key compared to many people. I don’t have a big family or a lot of friends but I appreciate and enjoy every one of them. My son, who lives in NJ, will visit for the week as he does every year. We’ll have dinner at my Mom’s house on Christmas Eve (with Liberty, of course!) and then we’ll spend Christmas Day at my house. One night we’ll walk around a local park that has a beautiful Christmas light display and then go to a movie. Simple pleasures.
This month, whether you are celebrating the birth of Jesus, Hanukkah, or nothing at all, I wish you the peace and love we all desire in our lives and in our world.
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