When I grew up and had my own place, I loved starting Christmas early in the season. Usually the first flakes of snow got me in the Christmas spirit. I would start my shopping early, listening to the old familiar carols, watching the movies, getting in the mood, or crafting new decorations and handmade gifts. I didn't have a problem dreaming about it when autumn days drew us nearer the fireside, and I certainly loved the idea of decorating my house at the very beginning of December.
When I met Rick and we married, he didn't have many 'traditions'. He'd put lights up on the house outside, but didn't decorate a tree. And, he didn't often go home to visit his family, who lived in another province. He often spent Christmas Day with special friends closer to home, so his celebrating was simple.
Then I came along and turned everything up-side-down for him. I'd start playing carols weeks before and want to put the tree up early, etc. And he was usually not as enthusiastic as I. Not that he ever stopped me from sallying forth, but he would just tease me about it being way too early and he'd have to call the "Christmas police".
I just figured it was because he wasn't used to it. But then we had our chat and that's when he shared that he didn't really enjoy spreading out Christmas so far and wide across the weeks. To him, if we celebrate days and days of holidaying, what will then make December 25th special and set apart? He had a point! So I said, well, let's make this Christmas more like what he would relish and not spread out the festivities too far in advance. I was happy enough to share the new experience, because in truth it was an old one for me. For, as a child, we didn't decorate our home until just 2 or 3 days before Christmas. (You didn't want the real tree to dry out before the actual day.) And most of our festivities were just those few days right around Christmas, just before and between Christmas and New Year's.
I refrained from shopping (yes, even shopping), planning menus in advance, holiday baking, playing the carols, and decorating until just a couple of days ago. I did read my December Victoria magazines and dream, but there was no actual activity happening.
Anticipation grew as we waited. So now that we're only 13 days away, this new experiment has revealed something very interesting. It's like the essence of the holiday has distilled into something more potent, and has created something where we're not jaded by all the hubbub, but there's a building up of something eagerly looked forward to. It feels more akin to that feeling of anticipation I had as a child.
Then one day I was reading Jan Karon's delightful Shepherds Abiding and if key character Father Tim didn't describe something similar after he'd just heard the choir singing the beautiful old carols in the beautiful old stone church. Here, listen...
"Call him a stick-in-the-mud, a dinosaur, a fusty throwback, but indeed, jumping into the fray the day after Halloween was akin to hitting, and holding, high C for a couple of months, while a bit of patience saved Christmas for Christmas morning and kept the holy days fresh and new."
I bid you your own sweet musings on this wintry evening,