Yes, I am being sarcastic! When I hear that dreaded Andy Williams song, it usually makes me feel like hitting something. All the stress and expectation and commercialism going on around my hearing that song–because I usually hear it when I have to go to some retail place around now–whirrs into a blend of loud, flashy junk, and makes my head and heart hurt. Luckily, this year, I haven’t heard it more than a couple of times.
Luckily, my family doesn’t do a lot of hoopla for the holidays. (When people ask, “So, you ready for Christmas?” I usually say, “Well, we don’t do much, so yeah, I’m ready!” My reply does not get at the problem of people assuming that everyone is either Christian, or into Christmas for some other reason.) I’m still a bit confused and ambivalent about what, if anything, to do at this time of year, considering that I was raised in the Christian traditions, and my husband was raised in the Jewish traditions, and neither of us are religious, and we tend to eschew the plastic and sugary. We settled on celebrating winter solstice: the idea of bringing light into the house on the darkest day of the year. This year, though, I took my daughter to the chiropractor that evening, and plan to give her a few belated solstice presents sometime before Christmas.
I don’t mean to sound like Scrooge. I’m all for people getting together and enjoying good company. If this is a religious holiday that means something to you, wonderful, celebrate it! And I might try to read “A Child’s Christmas In Wales” aloud as I used to do when I was in college. My daughter might sit through it this year, rather than just trying to eat the book.
With one minor illness after another, this year, this is also the time of year when I realize that I’m not going to send out the intended solstice cards I started to make, but maybe they can be new year’s cards. It’s the time of year I wonder if I will still make the intended granola and cookies for the neighbors, or whether they will get their treats after this weekend’s food fest, before the food fest of next weekend.
It’s been a year of many illnesses in and around my friends and family. Some fleeting (hooray!) but some will linger long. Feeling the weight of all that happened this year, I’m realizing that nothing that can be given in a box has as much meaning to me as the people around me, those still holding on, those still holding onto each other, and those, not with us here anymore, but held and holding to via memories.
To the people: Thank you.