|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?