Aaahh, the smell of roasting turkey. Sounds of jingle bells and children’s red-cheeked laughter. Visions of shiny wrapping paper and sparkly trees and glowing menorahs. Joy and connection. The happiest time of the year.
Except when it isn’t.
If Christmas is supposed to be the happiest time of the year, why are we all so stressed, anxious and miserable? Why does so much unpleasant stuff come up during the Christmas holidays? Have you ever noticed how many deaths occur in December? How many people get sick? How many people are divorcing? Fighting? Separating? Angry? Pissed off?
The kitchen is often known as the heart of the home, and it has always been my favorite place during the holiday season. The hustle and bustle start shortly after Halloween as the grocery lists get started, and the famous family recipes emerge from their recipe boxes.
Jill was in the kitchen, right in the middle of making cookies. I’d been at their house for about a week, which is typical around Christmas, when I spend my annual two weeks at their home in Eastern Washington.
Christmas is white and pristine everywhere, isn’t it? Not so Down Under! For the Aussies’, Christmas is about hot sunny days, icy drinks, a cold, Christmas smorgasbord-style lunch shared with family and friends.
You imagine ahead to your traditional dinner: you know what you will be eating, you know who you will be celebrating with, you know where you will be – but suddenly your heart drops. This year there will be an empty chair round that table.
The year 2019 is almost here. You might be thinking about a New Year’s resolution, a way to make your life better. If you’ve done this before, you probably focused on some self-improvement goal.
As our age of wisdom approaches with entering our fifth decade of life, many of us realize we want to share our values and hard-earned lessons with younger family members. We want to guide them toward valuable choices. After all, they don’t have to learn everything the hard way.
One by one I picked up the memories wrapped in each ornament and hung them on the tree. Pictures materialized in my mind of a beloved’s head bent while creating these ornaments in his shop, little fingers gingerly gluing a star on a felt Christmas tree, a friend’s offering of a token of nature, a sister’s foreboding of a life passing. These are my company in the dark days of December.
Early this morning, I got up to do my exercises and mediation before heading to the airport for my annual Christmas visit at my best friend’s family’s house in Spokane, WA. Before I put the last bits and pieces in my luggage for the long drive to the airport, I checked my inbox.