.....will be a very different story from this one.
I have been pondering a lot on what has been missing for me about Christmas in recent years. As a child, I LOVED Christmas, couldn't wait for it. That changed gradually over time, and more recently I have joined the ranks of those who are overwhelmed by the season and are sadly grateful when it's done.
For awhile, I thought it was an inevitable part of transitioning into adulthood...that the magic was a childish thing that faded as time marched on. Of late, I've become unwilling to accept this and have gone back to wondering what changed.
Certainly, when Santa became more fiction than fact, something of the magic was gone. But still, for many years, I loved Christmas.
It came to me, today, in a sort of epiphany, that it's the giving that I really miss. Not that I have stopped giving at Christmas time, but the quality of the giving has changed for me over time. When I was really young, I was excited to buy a few gifts for my parents and brother. When I was a little older but still quite young, I made many of my gifts. Older still, I made some, spent a lot of time and energy buying the right gifts for those I loved. Then more time passed and life got fuller, the list of loved ones longer, shopping time got thin, finances sometimes thinner still, and Christmas gradually became exhausting and overwhelming as I tried to cram in the shopping, squeeze the budget and stressed when we either overspent or ran out of time or money of both.
I don't think it has to be this way, in fact, I stubbornly refuse to let it be anymore. I firmly (possibly foolishly, naively) refuse to admit defeat.
So next year, starting in January, I'm going to plan for Christmas 2010. I think, believe, hope, that with some planning and attention throughout the year, I will arrive at December 1st, 2010 with gifts to wrap, a home to decorate, and some baking to do, but not this frantic last minute search for the right gifts at the wrong time.
I'll let you know how it goes! Happy Holidays!