Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tidings of Small Joy

I have a Christmas tree, lights, decorations, and Christmas stockings, and I did it all myself!

Last year at roughly this time, I wrote a post about my Charlie Brown Christmas. I was quite sad and lonely and, well, shattered. Christmas, for me, has always been the perfect time of year. Family, goofy family traditions that only a few people understand, cookies, people dropping by for no reason -or every reason. Children claiming not to LIKE the goofy traditions and then pouting exorbitantly when you threaten to stop them. Christmas ornaments made from popsicle sticks and cotton balls and glitter. Christmas carolers who can't actually sing. I love it all. Yet, when you love it like I do, a lot of your emotional life is held by those decorations and traditions. When my emotional stability had been battered, I literally could not force myself to look into those boxes of Christmas decorations. It was like looking into my emotional life and pain -and why subject yourself to that for no good reason?

So last year, I did no decorating and I fled. This year, the decision seemed much easier and more graceful. I'm still going away for the actual Christmas celebration, but it doesn't feel (quite) like fleeing. I bought an artificial tree -formerly anathema- and strung the lights myself. I bought new decorations that I love -coppers and golds and sparkly. There's a new Christmas tree skirt so I don't have to face the one I hand-sewed the first year I was married. There are new stockings for the same reason. I plopped right down on the floor and sobbed when I hung the third stocking and there wasn't another one to be hung. But I kept going, and hung a lighted garland on the headboard of my bed. I don't know why. It was in my hand and I didn't know exactly where I was going with it, and that seemed right.

So there we are. It's about 1% of the decorating I used to do. I still haven't looked into those boxes in the attic -even when I needed ornament hangars which are surely in there and can not possibly be emotionally laden. But it's mine. I can do it myself without feeling burdened or annoyed. I'll be able to take it down myself -and on a schedule I prefer.

And last night I sat by my tree and drank a teeny glass of cognac and admired my handiwork. And I saw that it was good.


Lisa :-] said...

You are amazing, Andrea! :)

Renee said...

Yay! I wnated a tree so bad this year, in spite of the fact that we are going away, that I actually broached the subject of an artificial tree with Scott. He emphatically refused. But I put up a wreath and hung the stockings and I think the mantle garland has to go up, too, even if we are leaving on Friday.