Saturday, November 30, 2013
The First Day of Christmas
These days, Christmas comes all through December. As soon as the last slice of pumpkin pie is licked clean, Christmas descends, full of fudge, and golden bells, carols, the sweetness that crosses each child's face.
When I was younger, Christmas was a day, a morning, a fete for immediate family. Now it's expansive, gloriously fun, deeply meaningful. It's the month when the light comes back, the first full month of winter, and we focus on celebrations that hit the high notes for us. For me. That includes church with all the little kid's choirs and candlelight. It's being together with friends, whose friendships go back 30 years. It's family, community, wonderful things to eat, to cook.
If the American economy was based on my spending habits, we'd be a ship lost at sea. Our family doesn't buy the big gifts for each other. It's a book, a bracelet, a knitted scarf, wrapped in paper, tied with a pretty bow. It's being generous with the Food Bank and the Humane Society. The simplest, sweetest things.
We went to the first community celebration yesterday—a Christmas tree festival, sponsored by our local Catholic hospital. Lots of the trees were done by designers. The trends this year included putting 18-inch glittery balls deep inside the tree. Really pretty. The tree I could live with though, was a simple flocked tree with all kinds of birds peering out here and there. Wonderful.
It's hosted in a very large convention center, and there were lots of little dancers, singers, and musicians who performed throughout the afternoon. At one point there were a thousand people in the main ball room, all of them families with at least two children, some of them with four or five. Young families.
My favorite kid was a little blond bombshell about four, who danced with such imagination and vigor. She was way off to the side and was half a beat behind all the other kids, but she was a dancer. Music. Big movements. Even bigger joy. Her hair so carefully fixed by her Mom, just bounced. So did she.
All those little kids had faces suffused with wonder. Which, it turns out, is Christmas enough for me.