My memories and ideal hopes for the holidays are large family gatherings, lots of laughter, delicious food, and opportunities to catch up on each other’s lives. It’s a moment to cherish and be reminded of all the positive gifts which come from being with our chosen family.
And every chosen family is different.
While one family may be large and growing, another may be a couple of people who choose to enjoy the unity on a more quiet and intimate level. And then there is every type and style in between.
My tradition has been to bring out the Christmas decorations starting on Thanksgiving day and moving into the weekend following. It has been a total joy of mine to transform the house into a festive place to lift spirits and sink into the couch with hot cocoa. It marks the beginning of a time for connection to friends and loved ones, which I relish.
I love buying gifts for everyone. I typically start in September. (Although this year, because I was practicing #healthy distancing I started in JULY) By the time December comes around I get to sit back and enjoy. The gifts are wrapped and ready to ship or nestle under the tree, and there’s no extra worry or stress. I get to absorb the moments as they come and soak up the added excitement of the season.
This year has been SO different.
For Thanksgiving, due to covid, we chose to stay home. My husband, mom and I enjoyed a simple dinner of our favorites, followed by a victory nap and a puzzle spread throughout the day. We took a stroll in the beauty outside and expressed our gratitude for where we are in life, physically, emotionally, literally and figuratively. And we admittedly missed the noise and ruckus.
Thanksgiving day also marked a low moment for me. I was very melancholy and the drive to “Deck the Halls” felt more like a black hole. I asked why I should. There will be no gatherings, no parties, no group celebration or white elephant exchange.
This sadness prevailed until I reached out to a friend. She reminded me of the personal boost in spirit which decorating brings. She also encouraged me to find ways to share it with others, like a Zoom call just to show each other our decorations and have some cocoa together. Another girl friend echoed the sentiment and pushed my holiday meter into the green side with some hope the actions would bring even more.
So, I’ve spent the last few days adding a tree here, a village there, some giant ornaments outside and other festive notions. There had still been a small, lingering sadness and then… it all changed.
We have barn cats. They are the sweetest cats you will ever meet. They relish being petted and loved on. About a month ago one disappeared. He was long haired, black and white, adorably lovey and walked with a saunter like a king.
As we live on a farm and have coyotes we’ve lost a few over the years and this is just a reminder of the circle of life. Fijoje had been with us over 2 years and he disappeared while Jay and I were out of town. When we returned to the news I was sad and reminded myself of the realities of barn cats and accepted the loss. I’d sit outside and give more love to the two we still had and would sneak them a little more food (even though they’re fat from eating the mice… thank you!!!)
One evening this week, as I was standing outside on the driveway, this fluffy, black and white cat ran up to my legs.
I squealed, giggled, laughed out loud (slightly hysterically) and picked that cat up to love the crap out of him. I have no idea where he came from, no clue where he has been, and have never been happier to see an animal than I was in this moment.
And you know what? I can’t stop smiling.
I laugh out loud randomly and don’t care if people think I’m a little touched in the head.
I can only hope my joy is infectious and lifts the spirits of those around me.
And while I am wearing my mask I know my energy is radiating out like a lighthouse in the darkest of storms. I tell the people who knew he was gone and they celebrate with me. Their joy adds to the general lifting of spirits and the ripples continue.
In this elation I will finish decking the halls as this carries me through the season.
I pray my delight elevates your mood and finds you feeling a little lighter.
I look forward to when we can all gather again in love and harmony, healing as a planetary family.
Deck your halls and share them; with your friends, family, with me. On Facebook, Instagram, text messages, zoom calls, or emails …. Let’s all share in the boost of holiday cheer.