Where do we get our perceptions of a perfect Christmas? Certainly from childhood memories. From returning to our parents' home after we've moved away. And from the years when our own children were small. And later years when they came back 'home' as adults, and possibly as parents themselves. Were those times, those years, as wonderful as we remember? Possibly not, but there they sit, entrenched, as the model for how things need to be to have a suitably heart-warming, fulfilling Christmas.
What happens when this amalgam in our head, the ideal, no longer holds, or is no longer true? Christmas can be a minefield of memories, a teetering pile of wishes and hopes, easily shaken, terrifying when toppled.
Well, you can try to change how you view Christmas day, which is a bit like pushing your stubborn, tradition-bound mind, Sisyphus-like, up a slippery, snow-covered hill, (or a very tall ladder). It's tough, but doable.
And when accomplished, is a smile-making, joy-bringing bubbling up of magic!
- Does Christmas need to be thronged with parents, kids, and grands to be a success? Maybe not.
- Is it possible that friends old and new, unrelated to you, usually not a part of your Christmas day, might be a worthy substitute? Indeed it is!
- Can Christmas be a self-indulgent alone-day, graced with books, delicacies, ciders and nogs, music, tree lights and glowing mantel? Why not? Doesn't everyone deserve a delicious pampered day? Am I by myself not worthy of a feast?
- Is it possible that the day itself is not the entire deal?
- What about the weeks leading up to the 25th - don't they count as part of the season?
- What about the 26th? Does it have to be a let-down? Aren't there still albums to play, beloved movies to chuckle at and weep over? Aren't the cookies still tasty? The fruitcake even finer than the day before? The trifle boozey and rich? The meats cooked and ready?
- The Twelve Days of Christmas begins on the 26th and runs right through January 6th. There's an entire new thwack of festivity, ready to go! Check out Caitlin Matthews' 2013 blog on the topic for an interesting historical look. Or this comical fountain-pen version of the song, from the friendly staff at Goulet Pens!
- Or maybe it's just another day, and needn't be elevated beyond a plain old holiday from work, to do whatever pleases, whenever it pleases. Drive through a fast-food place, take a walk, while away time doing puzzles, shop online, make bread, hang a painting, read 'til 3:00am, dance to a Latin CD, repot a plant, polish your Gram's silver, sleep in crazy late.
Break out of the old, and begin some new traditions of your very own!
What in the world would you like to do with your Christmas?
(All images from Marcia McCord's Tea Tarot.)