My Christmas cactus starting to bloom got me thinking about the holidays. As someone who no longer celebrates the birth of baby Jesus, I suppose I'm missing the "reason for the season." That's ok. What bothers me is the crass commercialism surrounding the event. Before Halloween was even over, there were decorations out. How did giving a nice orange and some nuts a mere 100 hundred years ago develop into the custom of spending massive amounts of money on people and decorations?
I appreciate the generosity of spirit that is being practiced and I think it's a good thing to give to others. I am guilty of training my kids to expect a lot. I got them hooked on loads of presents for Christmas. It was easier to do when they were little, of course. How do I now extricate myself from the expectation of generosity?
I do miss the absolute magic of the Christmases I experienced when I was little. After what seemed like an infinity of time waiting for THE DAY, we would get up in the morning and open presents at home and eat waffles for breakfast. That afternoon it was off to Grandma's house we'd go where there was another full Christmas tree and stockings. We would eat our traditional dinner there. Now that I have had to cook some of those huge meals, I really appreciate the amount of work and love Grandma put into her dinners. When the girls were little, the magic returned because they believed in Santa Clause and were so excited on Christmas eve and in the morning. I loved hiding the presents and digging them out to put them under the tree. I wasn't as fond of hauling everything up to Wyoming to spend Christmas with Gary's family, but I did enjoy the happy chaos of the day.
Now my grandmother is gone and Gary's parents are gone and we stay home. I like staying home. I like sharing meals with our friends which is probably why I actually prefer Thanksgiving as a holiday as opposed to Christmas. There's not all those weeks of shopping and wrapping that end in 10 minutes. There are still those hours of cooking that end in 10 minutes with more hours of cleanup.
Maybe I'll just have to wait for grandchildren before I experience the magic again. In the meantime, I'm back to working on my attitude of gratitude for family and friends who take the time to pick out something to give to me and wrap it with care, just as I will do the same for them. I will focus on the bright colored lights at night that I love. I will look below the surface of my antagonism and remember the love I feel towards the special people in my life.
And if I want magic in my real world, then I'll just have to look a little deeper. The miracle is always there, even if it's not Christmas.