Christmas is coming! Are these words to strike terror in your heart, or do they make your heart sing?
For me, it is a combination of the two. I hate Christmas shopping! Of course, I'm one of the few women I know who hates shopping of any kind for any reason, and having to shop for gifts turns my blood to ice. I use the Internet to shop online as much as possible, but inevitably, children or grandchildren give me their lists with items impossible to find except in...STORES. I don't like crowds, consequently my claustophobia kicks in, especially if I'm waiting in a checker's line with impatient and impolite people pushing and shoving behind me. I don't like finding just exactly what someone asked for, only to discover it is the wrong size, by the wrong singer, or not Blue Ray...whatever that is. So...guess who puts it off as long as possible? You got it! Here it is, December 7th, and I've yet to start. I'll be impossible to live with by Friday.
On the other hand, I love Christmas! I love the decorations, the pagentry, the enticing smells coming from all the kitchens in the homes I visit. I love decorating our house: my husband made a 1/2 life size Nativity set, with angels, the three Wise Men, two camels, Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, and the Manger. It sits on our front lawn from the first weekend in December until the weekend after New Year's. We have lights shining on it, and a blue light spotlighting Mary and Joseph as they knee beside the cradle holding the Baby.
Every year I spend almost a week baking for my family and friends ( no writing !). I paint a gift card individualized for each person, line a Christmas basket with festive paper and ribbons, and pack each one with cookies and candy. On the ranch, my husband and I would load up the saddle bags and ride our horses to each of the neighboring ranches to deliver our goodies. Now, we walk or drive to our friends' homes. I miss riding the horses. I miss seeing them with their bridles decorated with miniature battery-run lights, and the Santa hats I made for them perched between their ears. I miss the not-so-happy looks they would give me as I put their hats on, but they never shook them off. Ah well...that was a different life.
Do you remember in the late '90s and early 2000's that Target had a large stuffed and dressed snowman that was their Christmas "symbol?" I have six of those 'Snowden's' as they were called. My daughter-in-law told me about them and she and I competed to see who could buy them all the quickest! She won...she has 7 of them, I only have 6. But these 6 come out every year, and grace the beam above the built-in console in our dining room. On the console sit 3 of my 16 Santas. These are 3 large Santas that were handmade by artisans who lived in small towns along the Ohio River, where my husband and I traveled down on a barge about 10 years ago.
My other 13 Santas sit in various places in the living room, family room and dining room. Joining them are 3 Christmas dogs, one reindeer, two moose ( meese?), a giraffe, 1 small talking Tigger, 1 very large, silent Tigger, and 8 "teddy" bears of different sizes and colors. All represent Christmas in some foreign country, by the way they are dressed.
The sounds of Christmas come from the many DVDs we have of carols and music from Christian nations around the world. We seldom have anything else going on during the day except for the music filling our home and our hearts. In the evening, we try to watch as many of the Christmas specials as possible on TV. Our hearts are full, and sometimes, so are our eyes, at the beauty, the graciousness, and the words that invoke all that Christmas, and the birth of Jesus Christ, is supposed to mean.
Perhaps, in today's world, it is politically correct to say "Happy Holidays," but I celebrate all that Christmas has ever meant, long before politics got involved. So I will continue to say Merry Christmas, and hope sincerely that all to whom I say that, truly have a happy and merry Christmas.