It is the first week of the new year and for the first time ever my husband and I are both ready to start taking down our Christmas decorations early. As it is, we didn’t really get them put up until Christmas Eve. And, it wasn’t like we didn’t have time this year to decorate. No. That’s not why we didn’t get the house decorated early . . . like we thought we would. I mean, with being sequestered in our home and keeping ourselves isolated from the rest of humankind, we thought it was a sure thing that we’d be sitting by the fire in our warm robes all of December, especially this Christmas of all Christmases! But human nature is a funny thing. We couldn’t seem to get off the dime. Hauling the bins of decorations down the stairs and putting up the tree and getting the lights on it seemed like a gargantuan task. By waiting until the week before Christmas, it was a lot easier to put up just the necessary and most precious decorations. I think our psyches needed simplicity and that’s what they got. Sparsely decorated mantels, a simply decorated tree in traditional red, gold and silver . . . without the lush garlands and over-the-top floral picks I am so prone to poke in every bare spot I can find in the tree.
So, just a couple days after Christmas, I was ready to take down all the decorations. I didn’t know how my husband would feel about it because he absolutely loves all things Christmas. In fact, he is one of the jolly elf’s ambassadors. He has been Santa on many occasions for almost 40 years. When I really had enough of our decorated house, I asked him how he was feeling about still having the decorations up and to my surprise, he said he was also ready to take them down because Christmas this year hadn’t had the same feeling as it usually does.
As I started taking ornaments off the tree, I remembered a quaint expression my mother always used when it was time to take down the Christmas tree. She called it “picking the tree,” and when I was a kid, it always made me giggle. As I picked the tree this week, I thought a lot about my mother. Like all of us, her Christmases weren’t always the same and there were some holiday seasons that were less festive because of events that happened that year. She and my father both lived during the pandemic of 1918 and two world wars that took the lives of friends and neighbors, the Great Depression, family tragedies and personal things she never disclosed to me.
As I get older, I feel more of a kindred spirit with my mother. As different as I used to think we were, I have discovered we were more alike than I ever realized. As we begin a new year filled with uncertainties, I hope I can muster up the fortitude my mother had. She lived a life full of personal challenges and triumphed beyond even her own expectations by sheer determination. From being so small when she was born that she wasn’t expected to live, to being unable to sit up or walk until she was 4 years old and so many other things she endured. (I wrote about my mother in a previous post. You can read it here: https://studioemmy.blogspot.com/2018/05/as-mothers-day-approaches.html?m=0) I hope we can all do likewise and come through this difficult time with an appreciation for each other and what is truly important in our lives . . . to survive in ways we never would have imagined we’d find necessary in our lifetime. I wrote about “hope” last week and today, my closing thoughts are about “fortitude”. Let’s all strive to be strong and have courage.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. It is my hope that you and those you love are healthy and happy. Your questions and comments are always welcome here on my blog or on Facebook. I do read them and will respond. And until we meet again, may the Lord bless you and hold you in the hollow of His hand.