The holiday season is approaching, and unless you live totally off the grid in Upper Lower Vacantville, you know that plans are afoot. People are walking the "I have a purpose" walk, carrying lists, checking them twice, looking slightly distracted, and not sure whether they're actually enjoying themselves but finding that, more often than not, they are.
Christmas is nigh, near a store near you, and no matter what your Faith, you know that if ever there was a time to be nice to one another, this is most likely it. And so you smile at strangers, hold doors open for parcel laden people, and stand patiently in line behind the lady at the ATM who is updating her account book for the first time in a decade..and you smile at her too. The hype, the syrupy music, the moments brought to you by Hallmark, the Griswolds, and the Grinches have become a winter rite of passage that few in the western world can avoid.
I, for one, don't wish to. Because over the years, Christmas has become the one time of the year that I can unabashedly wear my heart on my sleeve. Be sentimental, openly thankful for all that is good in my life, and give to others less, or more, fortunate simply because I want to. I know that I could do this any day of the year, but having Christmas ensures that it happens at least once.
And then there's the boxes in the basement. Every year I swear to edit and delete the growing Bin Nation in the storage room. But I don't. Because each time I open a bin a memory flies out, captures my heart, and suddenly transports me to a moment I hadn't thought about in years.
The years of Christmas past are held in those bins. The year I fell in love with wire ribbon. Apple year. Pink year. Berry year. And every year's a bird year. And it is all there in the bins.
First up is to put Frosty on the porch.
Then there's the old ornaments that I inherited from my parents.
There's the china angel given to me by Clare and Peggy Ross, long gone friends of my parents. The little cupie doll faced angel says "Obey Your Mother and Father" and I always felt like I was being admonished.
are just plain cute and the birds? Well, they're here year round, and this Christmas, they get the red berry treatment.
This year is more like that. A good year, so there will be lots of red, to celebrate my family, my kids, their successes. And a quiet year, to remember good friends gone, but not forgotten.