I really like fall for a couple of reasons. Football. Back-to-school. Changing leaves, changing weather. Halloween. Thanksgiving. My birthday. And an evolution into cold weather and Christmas.
I have mixed feelings about Christmas, and the older I get, the more mixed up those feelings get. A holiday that has so many values mixed in. There is the Christian aspect and the symbolism of Jesus’s birth, the changing of our modern world. There is the family aspect… the tradition aspect… the gift aspect… the money aspect… the food… the stress… the expectations. The older I get, the more Christmas, the monster that we have created, not the Christian birthday, stress me out. Having child and deciding how to let Christmas shape him makes it worse. I want him to grow up knowing that wanting things, needing things, and receiving things are all separate entities. I want him to know how to maneuver through all of those feelings. That, I suppose, must mean that I should first know how to maneuver through them. He needs nothing material. He only wants attention and food and love. He receives so much more than that. How can I teach him what is important if the values I teach him are undermined by the world around him? So stressful.
BUT… one part of Christmas, one tradition I value and look forward to, is the outpouring of glad tidings. Every year I anticipate the mailbox filling up with cards. I love to see the changes of the last year. I post those cards and pictures of our families and friends all over the refrigerator. I add the birth, graduation, and wedding announcements as they come throughout the year. And then, before the next Christmas I take them all down and start over with a fresh slate. And I keep all of the old cards. Not exactly sure why, but it feels wrong to toss them out.
I also LOVE to send out a Christmas card. I used to love the letter part too, but it almost seems silly to write a letter to the group of people who are already my friends on Facebook and already know the highlights of the past year of my life – I will, instead, write a letter in my own penmanship to my grandparents who are Facebookless. That would be a better use of my time, I suppose.
The orange Shutterfly box came. And so, I am prepared, in at least one way, for Christmas to come. As I took down the pictures of my closest friends and their babies (or dogs) and packed them away yesterday, I was struck by the nostalgia of how everything changes. I can’t wait to re-place the white space with new pictures this year… and send out our glad tidings, as well 🙂