November 29, 2011

The Christmas Coaster

December is just around the corner, and Christmas is in the air.  Lights and decorations are starting to pepper our neighborhood, and Santa has taken up residence on his throne at the local mall.  Downtown, the snowflake lights are hung.  Local art and craft fairs are in full swing. 

On a grey Tuesday morning, I find myself sitting in Starbucks sipping a peppermint mocha from a cup adorned with snowmen and snowflakes.  It is sweet, and after I sip it I stare out the window and try to figure out how I feel about the holidays this year.

It seems like I have a rollercoaster relationship with the last sliver of the year.  I'm never sure how I will relate to Christmas, and too often in the past I have found myself unexcited.  It is supposed to be a joyful time, but something inside me doesn't always let it be that.

I do not feel as excited to get a Christmas tree as I did last year.  I find myself unable to even think about Christmas shopping because I don't know how we'll really afford much of anything.  I'm not super excited about Christmas break - three weeks of having Sam home all day, every day?  I've gotten used to his school schedule already.  The days have gotten shorter and my spirits have gotten lower.  I want to push everything aside and let it be warm and fuzzy, but this year I'm not sure if I can.

Every year, around Thanksgiving, I suddenly find myself contemplating December.  How fast or slow will it go by?  Will I find gifts I really care about for people?  What activities will we do, and what family will we spend time with?  Will we be able to travel to the East Coast to see my Stepmom, Dad & little Sister who I miss so much?  This year, it's a big fat no - $500 a ticket to fly there is so unfeasible it makes me laugh (bitterly). 

Right now, I am worried.  I am worried about money, about my kids and how they are doing, about other things.  I wonder if I will be happy when we put up the lights and decorate the tree, or if I will cry and the lights will fan out into stars through my tears.  As the new year approaches, I know I will pray.  That next year will be a better year.  Maybe through those prayers I can find a better focus for Christmas - to appreciate what I do have, to share my love with my family, and to remember what Christmas is really about.  I guess the only way to find out is to take the next step forward.

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