It has been a different kind of Christmas season so far this year, and I find myself wondering exactly why that is. Yes, we have been focusing more on homemade gifts. We have embraced the idea of an advent calendar with a festive activity for every day instead of a cheap chocolate. Family time has been the focus, and we haven’t gone out to a single event that cost anything. We have not gone to any staff parties, which as far as I am concerned is a true Christmas blessing. And yes, we have avoided the malls as much as possible. But really, what does it all mean in the grand scheme of the season?
Well, I don’t really have any big pronouncements about holiday miracles or waking up to the true spirit of Christmas, but here are a few small things that I have learned for sure in these weeks leading up to Christmas Eve. They are in no particular order.
1. Homemade things are just as good. They might not be aesthetically perfect, but they are more interesting.
2. Cookies are even better if you bake a double batch and give half away.
3. We can still find a bit of extra money to drop in the Salvation Army kettles, even though times are tight.
4. Children embrace ideas like sharing with others who need help, if only their parents lead the way.
5. Local turkey tastes SO much better. As do local carrots, potatoes, turnips, cranberries, and yes, even parsnips, especially if you add butter and brown sugar.
6. Recycled, upcycled and second-hand gifts are cool. Hip, even. Does anyone still use the word “hip” other than me?
7. A letter back from Santa makes a four-year-old light up like a Christmas tree.
8. Taking a few moments to just breathe can slow time down a little. But Christmas is STILL only a couple of days away and I don’t have all my presents made or wrapped.
9. I still love satin mix. You know, those big plastic buckets of brightly-coloured, assorted-shaped sugary hard candies like we used to get at Grammy’s house? Still good.
10. There is nothing on my Christmas list. And that is okay.
11. One Magic Christmas is still my favourite Christmas movie. OH, that moment when Ginny Grainger comes down the stairs and sees Santa Claus, and realizes that even though she’s a grownup and life is hard she can still have the Christmas spirit, I still tear up every time.
12. If you don’t go into stores, you won’t buy anything. Or really care about buying anything. (it’s a REVELATION!)