Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pretty Tree, Scary tree

I love Christmas.
The crowded stores, the incessant carols, the sleet and hail, not even the contractions around finances and spending, ever succeeds in dampening my enthusiasm for this time of year. I just plain love it.

Give me the smell of Christmas baking, spruce boughs alight with tiny lights, pristine mountains and wood burning fireplaces, throw in all the smiling at strangers, just cause, and I light up like a Christmas tree. If we all had a sound track that followed us around ( and in my dream world we all do) mine would be I Really Can’t Stay/ It’s Cold Outside…the Ella Fitzgerald version.

There is something about holidays that brings out the best in me although it wasn’t always that way. I remember after my divorce feeling the ache for family and the corresponding loneliness so acutely. I now see that as a period of growth, a dark night of the soul if you will that gave birth to new understanding, the knowing that I always have choice about how I feel in the present moment.

What’s important to me now is the joy I am capable of whenever I decide it’s what I want, what I deserve. It’s just a song away, just a laugh away, just a breath away, as I gaze up to the heavens and wish for a sudden flutter of transcendent white from the sky. I only have two burning questions at time of year. Where is that darned snow and where is my holiday dog, Roxy?

She is a huge, red, curly haired bundle of loving energy and I miss her. I look forward to her owners going out of town so she can come and live with me and I can be a dog parent once again. In my world, Christmas is not complete without a dog and at least a few romps in the snow. It also calls for many rituals without which I would feel loss.   It all starts when the first star appears on Christmas Eve, although the decorating and preparation began long before.
We have 13 courses for our Christmas feast.  There is always a place set at the table to honor the departed and if anyone knocks on your door that night, you ask them to join you for your meal. The table is covered with linen under which is straw, inside which are hidden candies that the kids (big or little) try to steal without being detected. We raise shots of ice chilled Vodka with profound and heartfelt toasts and we share a blessed wafer before we sit for dinner where you connect with a person deeply and express what is in your heart for them and your wishes for the coming year. It’s lovely and emotional and newbies introduced to the ceremony only feel shy for a second till the warmth of the moment melts tension away.

On Christmas morning everyone who has slept over jumps into the same bed and we open stockings, one wrapped gift at a time, while enjoying champagne and bagels, lox and cream cheese. Rituals radiate a certain familiar graciousness and bind the participants in memory that goes far beyond just eating and getting presents. It is the glue of connection and appreciation.

And after Christmas ….are you ready!!!!!  Buns and I are going to Hawaii for New Years Eve.

I am so excited I could scream, jump up and down and shake, shake, shake… shake my bootie! We are going to a 25th year wedding reunion, on the beach in Maui. My friends got married to Van Halen and I think Shake Your Bootie might have been on the charts at that time too, although god knows things were so cloudy back in those days that my time related details are not to be counted on as accurate.  Suffice to say Buns and I will keep you in the loop if we can drag ourselves out of our beach chairs long enough to reach a computer.

Christmas ritual and snow, palm trees and sand…really does it get any better? I guess we will have to see what new learnings the island will bring. Travel has a tendency to invite things like that and certainly when we two gal pals decide to have fun, adventure is a given. Heck it happens when we go for a drive so I am grinning imagining it in the tropics.

Authentically yours

1 comment:

  1. Marty... I am so excited for our tropical adventure. I was thinking yesterday that last year's New Year's exploit was pretty rich, this year's even more exotic, so where the heck will we be next year? And who will we be with...? Love you tons... Buns