Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. I love everything about it; the lights, the decorations, the baking, the gifts, the food, the gatherings, the camaraderie. This is the only time of the year that I actually like shopping and that I can tolerate the mall and the crowds.
I love to decorate for Christmas. A tree (or two or three) loaded with sparkling ornaments and lots of shimmering lights. Some greenery, tables filled with delicious goodies, Christmas quilts and pillows, stockings on the mantle and snow globes on the piano. Wreaths and packages adorn my front step. Stuffed animals line the stairway to the second floor. A roaring fire and a glass of wine or eggnog. Maybe an Irish coffee or Mimosa. Christmas towels hanging in the bathrooms. Strings of lights hanging around the room and across the mantle. (And when the cats have grown out of the 'I'll destroy everything by playing with it' stage, I shall bring out my Christmas village with its houses, shops, lights, snow and wee little people.)
I have Christmas bracelets, brooches, hair clips, necklaces and a big box full of earrings. There are T-shirts, sweaters and vests. Cats wearing antlers or jingle bell collars just for fun.
I love any event that draws my family close to my side. Birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Sunday dinners, and weddings; to me, all these events have one thing in common … there is great joy and happiness for me when everyone comes together. Family gatherings (also known as family rebuttals), are always a hodge-podge filled with food, fun, bickering, snide remarks, anger, teasing, joking, jesting, hugs, kisses, and loud voices but most of all, laughter and love.
For me the Christmas season brings the best of these things together for an extended time. November and December are filled with sneaky trips to the mall, hastily hidden bags and parcels, text message conspiracies, gift plotting, and quick gatherings to plan, shop, wrap or celebrate. I love planning and scheming with my daughters on what trinkets to buy or make for those we love. What gift will bring that treasured smile to their faces?
It isn't about money, or consumerism. It isn't about lights and shopping and commercialism. It is about expressing the deeper, tender emotions that we feel for our families and friends that we aren't always comfortable sharing. It is an excuse to hug friends and strangers to make them, and us, feel good.
I believe in Santa. There, I said it. Mock me as you will, it doesn't bother me one bit. But before you do, let me explain. For me Santa Claus is a symbol of all that is right and good in this world. The loving, caring, sharing, and kindness. He is the embodiment of what we could be, what we should be year round. For this one month, he reminds us to be better, kinder, more generous and forgiving. Walking the mall, I see smiles and hear manners being used. I hear excuse me, please and thank you. I see random acts of kindness. Someone buying a stranger's coffee or running down the mall to return a dropped glove or scarf. For me, Santa is a symbol of a conspiracy ... a conspiracy of kindness and good deeds. And that my friend is a good thing.
I hope for all the best for you this holiday season. May you be blessed with love and happiness. May you find a moment for a random act of kindness or giving.
Merry Christmas and enjoy the conspiracy!