Warm & Fuzzy – CoronaLife Day 278

Christmas is my favorite time of year. Even this year, which has been missing some of the traditions of the season, still gives me a glow. I stop and look at our beautiful tree every now and then. We mixed white lights and colored lights and this year I think we got the mix perfect.

It’s also snowing, and I don’t know about you, but my brain kicks into “snow day” mode when that happens. I don’t feel much like working or doing anything except watching the snow fall until I inadvertently take a nap.

I’m really looking forward to Christmas break this year. Normally this break is a time of year to spend more time with family, but since we are all home 24/7 since March, that part of it will not change. However, taking a break from remote schooling will be nice, and sleeping in is good any time of year.

Will I get any writing done over the break? I’d love to say yes, but past history of the rest of this year says no. It’s been a difficult year, writing-wise for me, and I see no reason why Christmas break will change that. But perhaps I will have a Christmas miracle and get some words on the page.

Right now, I am in a warm, fuzzy, snowy, Christmas-y mood, and that means no real productivity at the moment. For me, that’s part of this time of year—an ability, perhaps even a permission, to remove yourself from the regular hustle and bustle of life. As a kid, I used to take a book and sit next to the tree and read by the colored lights. My daughter likes to lay behind/under the tree and just stare up through the branches. Placing yourself in a different world is part of the magic of the season.

And maybe, after the year we’ve slogged through, that’s what we need. A moment to be outside this world and all its cares and woes. We can’t escape it long, not as adults, but if we can grab enough of those moments of peace, maybe we can emerge from this Christmas season refreshed, ready to face 2021 with whatever it brings.

No matter what holiday you celebrate, I want to wish everyone peace and joy. We certainly all deserve it, after the year we have had.

The Blizzard Bust

Okay, so normally I would not get excited about getting 2 feet of snow. My back can’t take all the shoveling, I hate the cold, and I’d worry a lot about losing power. But so far, this hasn’t been a bad winter, so I actually got a little excited about the prospect of a big blizzard.

The main reason is because my 5-year-old daughter is the perfect age to enjoy a snow of epic proportions. Being only 42 inches tall herself, 24 inches would be more than half her height. She would have a blast playing in it. Although she herself said to me, “But I would need a grown-up with me, in case I got stuck.” I looked forward to her reaction.

Another reason is that 2 feet of snow would have almost certainly kept my husband home from work, so we could have traded off time playing with Preschooler while the other one got some work done. After all, with Preschooler home from school I don’t have my normal two hours to work.

And I enjoy the quiet that comes after a big storm. No one on the road, few people walking. And of course, if you do lose power, it gets REALLY quiet. I’m not a fan of that type of quiet, though. But a certain peace settles over the world, and you cuddle up with your family and enjoy a day removed from the normal hubbub of modern life.

So, 24 inches.

We got about 3 inches.

Which, as it turns out, was okay, because my daughter is sick and wouldn’t have enjoyed it anyway. Having discussed before how I still love the thought of snow days, I will admit to mixed feelings about avoiding this winter storm.

My inner child might be pouting, but my adult common sense thanks the weather gods for the reprieve.

How did you fare in the blizzard? Are you happy or disappointed?

The Christmas Dichotomy

DSCN0640Christmas has always been my favorite holiday—and not because of the presents. My husband can attest that I am impossible to buy for, because I want very little. Ever since I can remember, though, something about the Christmas season spoke to me deeply.

Back when my eyes were good enough to read in low light, I would cuddle up next to our Christmas tree and read books. The cold, sometimes snowy, weather fosters togetherness. Snow turns the mundane outdoors into a magical land. People seem more cheerful, and they tend to care about their fellow man more.

There is peace and hope.

And yet, Christmas can also be very difficult for some people. The intense social interactions of Christmas parties and family dinners can highlight people’s loneliness. Those suffering physical or mental illnesses can feel more isolated than usual. Other people’s joy can throw your own sadness or grief into high relief. And for introverted people like me, the constant company of people—even though I love spending time with family and friends—can drain my energy to the point of exhaustion and tears.

In spite of my sense of peace during the holidays, I know that suffering continues for many. Bad things still happen. Poverty, theft, injury, death. Despite the Christmas light, darkness still exists for many. For me, reconciling the pain in the world with the peace promised in the season is the dichotomy of Christmas.

That’s where the hope comes in. The hope that we can help make the world a better place. That next year those suffering will not be. That we will have found a way to raise humanity to a higher moral ground than this year. That the hate will be less and the love will be more.

While Christmas is a Christian holiday (layered on top of a pagan holiday), you don’t have to be Christian or even religious to believe in the spirit of Christmas. We are all Santa Claus. We can all deliver goodwill toward our fellow man. Instead of getting gifts, we can all use our gifts to make this world a better place.

So Merry Christmas to all of you, and may you find peace and joy on this day and every day.

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The Spirit of Christmas

There’s a lot of media frenzy surrounding Christmas. You’ve got some people offended by the use of “Happy Holidays,” because obviously that is a “War on Christmas” catch-phrase. Then you have some atheists screaming that “Merry Christmas” is offensive because obviously anyone who wishes them a Merry Christmas is trying to convert them or otherwise shove religion down their throat.

But those are the outliers. Most of us are in the middle, and recognize that people exchange these greetings as a way of wishing you good will, not for any other nefarious reason. I have often been wished a Merry Christmas, but I have also been wished a Happy Hanukkah (because many, if not most, Ganses in America are Jewish). I accept both with a “Thank you,” because I know that person is simply wishing me well. Happy Holidays does not bother me, nor would Happy Kwanzaa, because I know it comes from a good place.

I of course send Hanukkah cards to my Jewish friends, because I respect their religion as they do mine, but in my world, the spirit of Christmas is inclusive. Perhaps that is not orthodox doctrine, but I have my own ideas on religion. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday, and not because of the presents and music and decorations (although they’re nice, too!). It’s because I have always felt a harmony with other people during the Christmas season, a peace inside myself that I don’t often feel the rest of the year.

To me, Christmas is not about one religion. It’s about “Peace on Earth and good will toward men.” Note that the saying does not specify Christian countries only, or only Christian worshipers. I want all of us to have peace. I want all of us to share in good will and good fortune. My spirit of Christmas is inclusive, because in my eyes it is not truly the Christmas spirit if you leave anyone out in the cold.

I have been trying to teach my 4-year-old that Christmas is not about presents, but about bringing joy to other people. I honestly believe that. So when I wish someone a Merry Christmas, what I mean is, “I wish you and yours joy and health and love.”

So when someone wishes me Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays or Happy Hanukkah or Happy/Merry Anything Else, I take it as it was meant—and I hope you will, too. It sure makes for a brighter and happier holiday season.

So, Merry Christmas from my family to yours, and may your New Year be happy and healthy!

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