Tag Archives: holiday mood; Christmas

Keeping Christmas

The Dynamic Gingerbread Trio – Katie, Khamo and I – just finished our goopy, inedible creation, which we’ve been meaning to make for about a week now, or at least in time for Russian (Orthodox) Christmas (January 7).  Inedible because it is a kit that I purchased for $1.50 at after Christmas sales about five years ago.  The “ready to use” frosting was so hard that we had to revive it with hot water to make it usable, and it smelled nasty.

But who cares?  We laughed a lot, we got creative with frosting and garish candies, and we extended that holiday feeling into the darkest and gloomiest (and lately the coldest) part of the year.  That’s what “keeping Christmas” is all about.

We were also late, but not that late, with our tree, which has become a new holiday tradition at our house.   We spend Christmas (the December 25th version) with my mom, sister and brother in law in Hilton Head, SC.  It is usually about 75 and not feeling at all like Christmas, the only “white” part being the beach sand.  When we return to Arlington on the 26th, we start the ritual of finding a Christmas tree – on the street.

Yes, there are people who ditch their tree the day after Christmas, as sad as that might seem.  (They are probably the ones who put it up on Thanksgiving Day.)  Poor, forlorn trees thrown to the curb, sometimes with a bit of tinsel or some missed ornament clinging to them.  We pick one and give it a new life as our Christmas tree.  I like to think they are happy to have a second life in our living room.  Soon enough they will be turned into mulch, why not give them a little reprieve?

So, my advice, don’t let Christmas go too soon.  Keep the feeling of creativity, togetherness, and light as long as you can – all year if possible.  But maybe don’t wait five years to use your gingerbread house kit.

 

Suspended Santamation


It’s that time of year.
The Holiday Season, which starts roughly after Thanksgiving (earlier if you are in retail) and extends into the first full week of January. I would argue with the song that claims it as “the most wonderful time of the year” for some obvious reasons: in northern climes such as ours, it is cold and dark, and of course there are those long shopping lines, the stress of holiday preparations, and various reasons why people just are in a celebratory mood and don’t need some sappy song implying there is something wrong if they aren’t feeling wonderful.  But, it can be nice nevertheless, in a multi-sensory kind of way. Colored lights illuminating the darkness, warm smells of cookies baking, Handel’s Messiah, Tchaikofsky’s Nutcracker or other favorite holiday music soothing in the background while you trim the tree and wrap presents, or do whatever else you do if you do it at all.

Okay, nothing new there, just setting the mood. What I do find curious this time of year is my own attitude toward time. I suspend my usual proclivity to planning ahead and projecting my activities into the future, and have a hard time thinking past the weeks framing Christmas. Mid-January seems like a century away (especially, this year, the date of January 20 and what comes afterwards…way too scary to think about now while in a holiday mode).

I feel as though I am living in a bubble of buoyant holiday spirit, with permission to sport tacky holiday earrings, socks, and sweaters, devour things that are sugar and cholesterol laden, and procrastinate real life matters. I tell people I should be interacting with at work, “I know this is a busy time of year, so let’s meet/talk After the Holidays.” This is holiday code for, “My brain is on leave. Blame it on the gingerbread men.” At home, I spend hours doing holiday decorating, wrapping, baking, fussing, and use this as an excuse to neglect anything non-holiday-related, like cooking healthy meals, cleaning the house, or reading edifying journals instead of the Family Circle holiday issue.

Seriously, my retired husband (who is a  bit of a grinch) does most of the cooking, cleaning the house is never a big priority for me year round, and, well, I find it hard to get myself to read edifying journals the rest of the year too…but you catch my drift. This is your brain on holiday, right? Give into it, I say, don’t feel too guilty. Deal with things post-Epiphany. Clear out the left over mini candy canes (wait – they do make good breath mints year-round, no?) and face the New Year with resolve and renewed vigor.

We’ll talk After the Holidays and see how that went.