I have to admit, if there’s one time of year I still have to fight the cynicism I’ve mostly come to manage, it’s now.
This season’s many dichotomies are perplexing to me at best: peace on earth/pandemonium in the strip malls. Jesus in the manger/Santa on the rooftop. OUR children opening presents Christmas morning/THEIR children working overtime to keep the toy aisles stocked. A spirit of giving/needless consumption justified by the birth of the son of God?!
Truth is, there’s so much about this time of year that I have issue with that I’d have thrown baby Jesus out with the bathwater by now, except that one, I have no beef with baby Jesus, and two, there are also elements of the season that I truly enjoy.
I love the ritual making-ready, the careful consideration of whom I will knit for and the unearthing of family recipes for their annual glory. I love giving simple gifts and constructing candied casitas and the excuse to linger over mulled libations with the people I love most. I love the nostalgia of Christmas past (my mama makes a mean holiday), caroling in the streets and wearing all my woolens (just maybe not this year).
Mostly, I love the wonder, the joy and the anticipation I see ignited in my girls in such sweet and innocent ways.
So, little by little every year, I am shedding layers of frustration and angst over the way our culture has managed to distort the simplest messages of good will and giving to fit its capitalist agenda and replacing them with the change I want to see.
Because the truth is, without inner peace, this is about as good as it gets, and peace as fantasy is not exactly what I believe the world to be starved for…
And unless I manifest true joy in my own life, I might as well be endorsing this version…
This is our third holiday season in Mexico. The first year, we did almost nothing as a much needed break from the seasonal hustle we’d grown weary of in Austin. Last year, I made a few gifts and we enjoyed a truly sweet Christmas in San Cristóbal.
This year, as we’re settling into our new home and town (and as projects are suddenly more doable without toddlers underfoot or babies on my hip), I’m ready to spice it up just a bit and add a few elements we’ve enjoyed in Christmases past:
We’re making ornaments for our barren tree,
and reflectively repurposing outgrown baby clothes (updates to follow)…
(…though only after she’s adequately convinced they no longer fit).
Next week, we’ll bake for for friends and neighbors, ready ourselves for Sigorni’s arrival (!!!!) and
cozy in beside the fire to keep warm relax on the beach and try to keep cool. Who says sand can’t fulfill dreams of a White Christmas?
As for the overwhelming message coming to me this season? It isn’t so much about what I don’t like about something, as how I choose to fill its place once I let it go.
Here’s to making light of this Christmas season.