Christmas is almost here…

Yes, it its that time of year, despite best intentions it is but a couple days before Christmas.  Ready or not.

I know, because I have been reading and hearing a steady stream of complaints in person and on-line.  Surprizingly, many people “hate” wrapping resents.  Or shopping for gifts.  Or baking cookies.  Or decorating the tree.  Bah, humbug!

I never cease to wonder at these folks.  How could they have come to hate the work of Christmas?  Maybe a few have a legitimate reason:  bad childhood memories, or loved-ones lost too near Christmas day.  But the overwhelming few are just complaining.  About being Merry.  And sharing. And celebrating.  Or is this not what they are doing?  Perhaps this is the issue.

I will certainly admit, battling other crazed and hostile shoppers in a store is not alot of fun.  But I am always so grateful that I have the money to spend of gifts for people that are very important to me.  When gift-giving, I remain focused on the recipient, I try to get them something that they will delight in, and something they can use often and think fondly of me.  I find that viewing it through this lens, rather than that of what’s on sale, or does everybody else have to have makes it a much more meaningful and enjoyable experience.

As a child, I delighted in wrapping presents.  My kids do now, and I am so glad.  Wrapping gifts means you have gifts to give, and that you are soon to delight someone.  The very colors and textures of the papers, ribbons and bows are enough to get one in the Christmas Spirit!  I recall sitting for hours when I was young, mesmerized by the reflection of the blinking lights on the tree off the dazzling packages below.

Christmas is so special because of the foods.  Cookies and pastries that do not appear until this time are always a welcoming site.  Warm drinks in beautiful glasses, with special treats like marshmallows or whipped cream are so comforting.  These foods  prepare us to desire for the cooler temperatures about to settle in, so as to properly enjoy these gifts of the Season.  Taking the time to prepare these mementos is yet another gift to give to loved-ones, special treats that cannot be gotten at the store.

     And the tree! It’s arrival always announces the new Christmas season.  It is the place to display family memories, with ornaments made by children (or the parents as children), or of travels, and of special occasions gone by.  We always get a real tree, as nothing beats its aroma and texture, the task of finding the “hole” to place against the wall, and the annual tradition of finding just the right one together, as a family.

Long ago, when so many of these cultural Holiday traditions were created and sustained, life was different, indeed.  Daily life was a little more hands-on work, transportation was sparser and much slower-paced, so often folks lived in relative isolation from each other in the countryside.  And life in cities was very removed from nature, trees and growing things much harder to come by.  The Holidays meant a break from all this:  When folks in rural areas traveled to come together,  candles lighting the way and welcoming guests from far off.  People in towns surrounded themselves with greenery, spices, flowers, all sorts of living things they missed in their daily lives away from the farm.

And the signing!  Caroling was not only a way to spread Christmas cheer and tell the Story of the Season, but also a way to build Community.  Children strained their little ears, practicing in secret and trying so hard to learn the songs.  Older children helped their younger siblings.  Finally mastered them was a sort of coming-of-age, a tangible part of taking one’s place in the group, feeling  fulfilled and accepted.  Something children are missing out on today.

Our new American culture of living everyday like it’s a party has tapped out the true Spirit of the Holiday Season.  We are  bombarded with “special” everyday.  And many of our Christmas “treats”  appear to be able to be bought at the store.  Many take for granted the original work and meaning behind what have become mundane things.

Maybe it is because, as a Farmer, I live closer to the land and to the natural rhythms of the Year.  We really do live all Winter on what we were able to produce all Summer.  Christmas time does mean for us a break in the work, the first chance in many months to see and connect with friends.  And yes, we have set aside our best cuts of meats, favorite items from the garden and begin baking special treats.

But, gee, I don’t know….  I think Christmas does still live in the Heart, and than anyone can find their own reason to keep this time special.  Gratitude and Appreciation are the only ingredients needed to remind us why we celebrate at this time of year, and to remind us to hope and look forward to the next.

I love Christmas!  And I wish Peace and Love to all of you.

Merry Christmas!

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Leo Cotnoir
    Dec 22, 2011 @ 19:34:58

    What a beautiful blog post! Thank you and merry christmas.

    Reply

  2. Nancy
    Dec 22, 2011 @ 19:42:01

    I love your blog Honey. You have grown up so beautifuly. God is Good. If that is your house in the pictures it is beautiful.

    Reply

  3. Marty Vanslette
    Dec 23, 2011 @ 02:22:25

    Thanks for the reminder. I promise not to gripe about wrapping ever again – I like your perspective. I’m getting better and if everything doesn’t get done, well that’s just fine. I’m not in competition with Martha Stewart.

    Reply

  4. sunhfarm
    Dec 08, 2013 @ 15:30:04

    Reblogged this on Sunny Hill Farm Blog and commented:

    That time of year again, a gentle reminder to Keep Calm and Be Merry! 🙂

    Reply

  5. SUP Country Tours
    Dec 09, 2013 @ 08:45:59

    This is very beautiful Niechelle. I also remember being dazzled by the lights of the Christmas Tree 🙂

    Reply

  6. kYLE
    Jan 15, 2014 @ 07:55:49

    There is only 1 word to describe Niechelle and all that she does and thats WOW

    Reply

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