On the last day of school before the holidays, a winter storm has barged in and dashed all my hopes for a little solitude before the winter break. The school buses have been cancelled, so the kids are home and the holidays have begun. I do love a white Christmas. Snow makes all the below freezing temperatures worthwhile. It is also much easier to kick those lounging kids outside for some exercise. It does make me want to hibernate and cuddle up with a good book in front of the fire, but I am also quite keen to get some use out of my cross country skis this year as they were barely touched last winter. When I lived in Montreal in my twenties, my first winter was unbearable. I had never experienced a colder, or snowier environment ever in my life. It wasn’t until I started cross country skiing that I started to look forward to the snowy winters.
Snow also makes Christmas seem much more festive. Without snow, Christmas can seem like an orgy of forced consumerism. At least with snow, the consumerism orgy is a little more aesthetically pleasing. There is always that someone at an orgy that you did not want to see naked. A little snow obscures your view just enough to make everyone beautiful.
When did humans start needing all this stuff? How can there be a list of goods wanted every year? I know it is tempting to want what that other guy has, but isn’t everyone tired of having so many things? We try and downplay the gifts and up sell the giving around here. Each of my kids chooses a charity to donate to each year, and can submit a small wanted list. I do some of my shopping at the thrift store, some new, and a lot of homemade. We were the lucky recipients of a bin of felted wool (thank you CakeTin Hats), and have all been crafting our little hearts out for most of the month. I am sure Jess will be thrilled with his one lumpy slipper I have made him. He has size 15 feet so I am not sure he has had a pair of slippers that has ever fit him properly. His dream of well fitting slippers may not be realized with Lumpy #1, but we have high hopes for Lumpy #2 which may appear after Santa is long gone.
I know for many people Christmas is about Christ and not the gifts. But when you are married to an atheist, God not only plays a minor role during this season but he is sometimes completely cut from the show. My stepmother has visited us twice in the last 6 weeks. She brings a steady dose of God and his pals to our house when she is here. I am all for the religious education of my kids, as I would like them to be well informed and able to make up their own minds regarding religion. I want their knowledge to be well stocked when they have that believer/non believer debate sometime in their adult life.
However you celebrate your holidays, let them be merry and full of love. I hope you have food to eat, a dry roof over your head, and loved ones by your side. Be grateful for the people at your table, as they may not be there next year. Be kind, not just to the nice ones but the grumps too. Sometimes the grumps need your kindness the most. Be gracious, we are all just doing the best we can right now, even when our best is a bit crumpled around the edges. If you have nothing to bring to the table, bring love. Love and forgiveness will take you far beyond the holidays and into the new year.
Love to you all this holiday season and may all your wishes come true!