Thursday, December 4, 2014

Getting in the holiday spirit

I'm sharing some shots of nature-based ornaments that were on the tree in the Peaks of Otter Lodge.

The other day, a friend told me he just wasn’t in the Christmas spirit yet. Even though lights and trees and other decorations seem to have spilled out onto the landscape within the last week or so, he’s just not there yet.

I’m not quite there yet, either. I think part of it has to do with the differences in planning and decorating that have occurred since I was a child.
When I was a child, stores didn’t usually put up Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving. When I went with my parents to Lynchburg to shop in December, part of the pleasure was to walk along the sidewalks and look at each store’s window displays.
Each store had something different—angel figures or a Santa Claus or trees. If the display had a moving part—like a Santa that waved his hand—that made it even more fun.
And I would start to get excited.
We always had a live pine tree that my father set up in the living room. It would go up about a week before Christmas. Putting the lights on was the first hurdle. Back then, if one light on a strand went out, they all went out. Someone would have to check each one to find the burned out light.
Then came the ornaments and finally the crowning touch—icicles. I loved the sight of the silver strands hanging from the tree.
Then the time crawled by until Christmas Day.

How things have changed. Whether they’ve changed for the better depends on your perspective.
Christmas decorations show up in the stores after Halloween. Christmas music starts playing on the radio before Thanksgiving. The effect on me is that I start feeling behind before December even gets here.
I haven’t started shopping! Should we put the tree up this weekend? What about outside decorations? Everyone has their decorations up except me!

Once I start participating a little in the season, at my own pace, I begin to feel less panicked. I remind myself that I don’t have to do everything that everyone else does to prepare for the holidays.
I haven’t finished my shopping, but I have done some. And it was all online. Shopping online takes away a lot of my stress about shopping. I just don’t like getting in the crowded stores if I can help it.
We’ll probably put up our tree this weekend. Larry and I put up pre-lit artificial trees. The lights are LED, so they don’t get so hot like the big bulbs would.
No icicles. Little kitties might eat them. And they seem irritating now, with the static electricity that makes them stick to everything.
Christmas movies also get me in the holiday spirit. Larry loves “White Christmas” with Bing Crosby, and we check the listings to make sure we can watch it at least once during the holidays. We also like some of the Hallmark Channel’s movies. I always watch out for “A Dog Named Christmas” and “November Christmas.”
We have our favorite Christmas music, too. Larry likes the older pop songs the best. I like the carols best. We both like listening to the CDs of Susan Boyle, Josh Groban, and James Taylor. I listen to them as I drive, a way I can include celebration in the day.
And then there are the parades. The Altavista Christmas Parade is tonight. I’ll be taking pictures for the paper. The Rustburg Christmas Parade (Rustburg is our county seat) is Dec. 14, and I’ll be there, too. By then, I will be excited.

My Christmas spirit has grown quieter as I’ve gotten older. I listen to the words of the songs more closely. I meditate more on what the meaning behind the celebration is for me. I think about all the holidays people celebrate this month.
 Times have changed. That’s normal and that’s OK. But do you know something that hasn’t changed? I still have a hard time falling asleep on Christmas Eve.

Has the way you feel about the holidays changed as you’ve gotten older? If so, how?


  1. Hi Tina, I don't think my thoughts for Christmas have changed over the years. I have always like things quiet and still do, but I have always loved Christmas. Interesting you mentioned about Christmas Eve. My mother's birthday was December 24th! She died 31 years ago. My father's birthday was December 19th, and he died 30 years ago. Your photos are beautiful.

    For this month and into January I will be sharing Christmas related videos...I mentioned this, and why, on my Tuesday's post, but in case you didn't see it....I know that many people get depressed at tme this time of year, and I am hoping to bring holiday cheer to everyone...and to make it last beyond Christmas, as many get depressed after Christmas.

    Sending you a warm hug and much love.

  2. i haven't done any decorating yet...i need to get going! we're going to get our tree this weekend...i loved hearing about your christmas's past!

  3. We always put up our little trees on Thanksgiving. I love the lights and how each ornament has fond memories. And unfortunately the cats love them too.

  4. i like the bark and pine cone decorations! i've done some ordering of gifts on-line. need to send some cards.

  5. I was hoping to see your conclusion that with age Christmas changes. As children Christmas sent us right around the bend. Now that I'm retired Christmas has become much more laid back.

  6. Wow, I really like those ornaments. I can almost smell the woods.

    As for me, Christmas has definitely been more relaxed - funny to say that with my flock of kids. I grew up with icicles (although we called it tinsel) and my mom wouldn't let me put up the Christmas decorations until mid-December. I was always falling all over myself and trying to sneak decorations out early, ha!

    We try to strike a balance with Christmas - I don't want to do everything at the last minute but having decorations up before Thanksgiving is a bit overboard in my opinion. So our tree is up but not decorated (go artificial!), the stockings are out for St. Nicholas to fill this Saturday, and I am totally playing Christmas music everywhere I can. We'll be putting the lights up on December 13th, the decorations on the tree on the Sunday before Christmas, and keep everything up until January, at least. I'm trying to embrace Advent waiting and anticipation, and trying to help the kids do the same.

  7. I do love that bark ornament. I would be tempted to leave that up all year. I don't enjoy decorating for the holidays any more. We usually leave for a while in January which means leaving the stuff up for an extra month or rushing to take it down before we leave. But since it's just the two of us here now, I don't put in much effort. We listen to Christmas music on Christmas Eve and that's about it. Not much tolerance here...could you guess? LOL. BUT, I enjoy that the kids are here again for a couple of days and we have a good couple of meals and play games. I get a new one every year for us to try. It's great to be together.

  8. oohhhh those natural ornaments are so beautiful!! The holiday season has remained the same for me over the years. Even though the boys are grown, I still have a lot of Christmas spirit!

    I don't buy too many gifts and I am in great shape in that department. What I have not made, I have ordered on line!!

  9. Such lovely natural ornaments. I find sometimes it's hard to get into the Christmas spirit and this year seem a little that way for me. Money is tight so that tends to make me a little more depressed but by the time Christmas arrives I will have embraced the season.

  10. Beautiful ornaments! We all form our own Christmas traditions, and Shep and I keep ours quiet and meaningful. My parents always used icicles, too! But we don't because of the cats. We also have an artificial tree...I can't bring myself to use a live one, though I love how they smell.

  11. These are all especially beautiful. I'm very fond of woodland at the holidays. I do like these very much.

  12. I do my shopping early, but only because I hate crowds. I am excited for when the boys get their break. I have some fun stuff planned.

  13. Lovely post, Tina. Yes, times change with each passing season and each year. It seems our family has celebrated Christmas Day differently each year for the past 3 years. A little snow on the ground always helps me get into the Christmas spirit which we do not have yet. And I still haven't decorated so I haven't quite reached the spirit yet. Enjoy the holidays!!

  14. I did nothing yet, I find it so difficult this year?

  15. This is my favorite time of year, so I do tend to start early to make it last longer. But I am also like you in that my Christmas spirit has gotten quieter (except when all the kids and grands are way that's quiet!). I also hate shopping in stores- and when I do go it seems everyone is in a bad mood..This is one time of year that would do us all a world of good to go back to how it was in the 50's and 60's.


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