Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Spirit of Christmas

This is my favorite time of year, the space between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I listen to Christmas music almost daily. I indulge in hot chocolate and toast for breakfast. I bask in the glow of Christmas lights and the scent of pine tree in my house. There's really nothing like it no matter how hard I try. Sure, I might do those things at other times in the year (aside from the lights and the pine tree in the house thing), but there's something special about the actual months of November and December. The year rolls around to these last two months and I think that nothing was planned so perfectly as having a holiday all about gratitude kicking off the weeks preceding Christmas. For me, it all comes down to that; these two holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas, working in tandem.

Now, I realize it's not this way for everyone and I'm sure some you may think I'm one of those crazies who buy all things Christmas right down to the cheesy Santa Claus sweater. I assure you, that's not the case. (Although, I have received one of those as gifts from time to time). Here is my reason for this love. I hope its not too personal for you.

When I was a senior in high school, just barely eighteen, things were not so good. My parents were struggling with a heavy load of debt and on the verge of divorce that would take place less than two years later. That particular Christmas is memorable to me because I remember my mom taking me aside that year to let me know there wouldn't be any presents. I'm the youngest in my family and I think it was hard for her and my dad to feel like they failed me during my last real Christmas at home, but I remember it differently. I remember feeling like they must've done their job as parents. Because it wasn't about the presents for me. It hadn't been for a long time. I remember the standard they set for me in spite of their personal struggles. I remember feeling gratitude. It's been years now and the lesson comes back in varying degrees, but it's this experience, this lesson that makes me love this time of year so much.

It reminds me of what's most important.


  1. Thanks for sharing that DJ. It is important to be reminded about the true meaning of Christmas.

    I've been thinking a lot about that this year, especially how to instill in our children an awareness of what Christmas is really about. I'm glad you got that from your parents in spite of the difficult circumstances. I hope you've shared that with them. I think as a parent it's always good to know when you've done something right.

  2. My favorite part of the holiday season is being with my family. There's nothing better...well except for the Saints/Patriots game last night, maybe :)

  3. Well, Arlene, you are waxing a little sentimental. So unlike you in fact that Linda thought you were DJ, (Not unlike DJ at all;)
    Thanks for sharing and I will take your love of Thanksgiving and Christmas and raise you an anniversary and two birthdays. This season is a busy time but I just love to sit in my house and stare at a lit Christmas tree. I drove completely out of my way tonight to look at the Christmas tree that the city put up while I was in Reno because I wanted to see it with the lights on!!!
    Nothing on Earth including Chocolate makes me quite as happy as sitting by my christmas tree on Christmas Eve and thinking about all I am grateful for and all the blessings in my life. (Can you keep a secret? I'm still a believer. I believe in All the Christmas Magic. Because no matter what else happens this time of year, many people all over the world stop for just a few minutes and think about others and think about a baby born over 2 millenia ago and they become givers rather than takers and that is magic.)

  4. Wow, I'm a big dork. Shows how out of it I am this week. Arlene, thanks for sharing and please note my comments for DJ above. :)