Living in Society Social Commentary

Christmas is Coming

Christmas Lights

It’s been seven weeks since the end of apple season, now two weeks until Christmas. The glow has come off holiday seasons.

It’s not that I’ve become all grinchy, hidden away in a darkened lair while neighbors illuminate their homes in festive lights. I don’t know what it is but last year we didn’t even open the holiday decoration boxes and this year likely won’t either. It makes the clean up easier and there are no young children and few family members with whom to share our traditions. People turn inward this time of year and so shall we.

We make home made chili on Christmas eve and serve it with cornbread. There are special recipes and sparkling apple cider. Christmas day we’ll fix a dinner with elements of what we had for Thanksgiving — sweet potatoes, wild rice, farm vegetables, a relish plate, and a source of protein. There will be leftovers. It will be tasty and traditional.

I know what to do to make it through the holidays — contact friends and relatives and plan for next year. Write a budget, get organized for tax season, plan the garden. The world starts shutting down Christmas eve and there will be time for a long winter’s nap… or two. Time to spend writing along with restlessness and resting for what’s next in 2019… a long walk on the lake trail.

My disconnect from Christmas began with military service. The first year in Germany, no one even knew I was there except for the battalion commander’s secretary and my family. Without a telephone, before the time of personal computers, I spent the holiday alone and that broke me from family traditions. By the time New Year’s came, other officers realized I was there and tried to include me. It felt ersatz and futile.

There was a resurgence of Christmas spirit with some joyful times when we married. Even in our decoration-less home with just the two of us the day is special. That will be enough. We’ll miss having our daughter with us and will think of her as Christmas day turns to night. One year she worked the park’s fireworks display as families gathered on streets of make-believe. Someone has to make holiday memories for night visitors.

Today I return for a shift at the home, farm and auto supply store. With five days off work I’m getting cabin fever and that will dissipate as morning turns to afternoon. Socialization at work is a main reason to stay in the work force while I can. Soon the Christmas merchandise will go on clearance with bargains to be had. I might bring something home. Who knows whether our holiday lights will even work after so long in storage. I might even use them again this year because hope remains. It’s the season of hope.