… on the christmas thing


Nicholas, a Dingle House Elf, Late at Night

Each year on December 1st, I come as close to playing Mother Nature as I can get, when I choose to make it snow. Right here on the blog. All month long.

I actually created the header up top so that the snow would show up better for you today (okay, and for me too). And seeing it fall, those white digital dots on a Christmassy, technologically manifested background? It slows me down, joins the season in taking the edge off of the edge-y in life.

This really happens for me, by the way – the edges all around me seem smoother.

I’m a little less impatient in line, waiting to purchase a gift or food or replacement strand of Christmas lights… not because it is the holiday season and I can hear the music and smell the piped in pine scent (okay, that counts a little bit)… but because I am so grateful and fortunate that I can be standing in a line, to buy a gift or food or replacement set of Christmas lights, to celebrate my favorite time of year.

It’s the same when it comes to the normal yipes and gripes within families or friendships too. The small stuff just doesn’t seem to matter as much, or be able to seed itself, or take root as easily in this season.

And I don’t think it is because it’s wicked cold, or I’m in gardening zone 5a (or maybe 5b or 6a… I can never really tell because there are these things called microclimates (don’t get me started)).

If gratitudinal reflection is the radiant hearth of Thanksgiving Day, it seems to stay stoked and warm for me right through Christmas, and a little beyond. Always has. And as the bits and bytes of snow fall here right now, it also happens to be the birthday of a certain Old Yankee Man. He has been someplace else, away from us, for closer to two years than one now… but the memories of those first few days (and weeks and months, and…) without his omnipresence here are not gone. Not even faded really. Not hardly.

Thinking about this, and mixing those thoughts with my current sense of holiday wonder, got me to thinking.

For so many of us, when we hear about a tragedy, or someone we know experiences a horrific experience, or – and this is the biggie – someone we love is very sick… or dies… we experience this amazing state of mind. One where we are able to see that so many of the things that sometimes consume us, drive us crazy, keep us up at night… They just don’t matter as much…

As the people do.

I know, right?

It always comes down to the dang humans.

Our relationships with them.

Our meaning to them.

Our love for them.

I have heard and read the opinions of cynics who lament that it is a shame, a tragedy that people are nicer, or give most at this time of year – that they don’t give the same on all the other days (or weeks or months), treat each other the same all year round. The implication being that the people who do feel what they feel this time of year, who are inspired to give even more (or even just once!), or who are more gentle with their fellow humans during this season are somehow inauthentic people, that their gestures are somehow false.

They don’t count.

Maybe these cynics want people to be just a little bit more poopy so there isn’t a spike in the annual line graph of do gooder-ing. I’m not really sure. But I think I get the general idea, and it can be expanded upon.

Why aren’t we – the collective ‘we’ – always as open and loving and patient and kind and generous with and toward each other as we were after the twin towers fell on 9/11, or as we are with each other during the sickness of, or after the death of a loved one…

Or at Christmastime?


I don’t know the answer to those questions.

I know my answer to the cynics though.

*cracks knuckles over keyboard and sets to typing…

I don’t care.

I’ll take that type of human connection, those gaps in the run-ons of our everydays when want to be there for each other… when an understanding smile, or even a hug, given to a stranger can make their day.

I won’t scoff at it, I won’t feel entitled to it, and I won’t should all over people if they don’t participate in it every day, or in the exact way I want them to.

The beauty of it, when it happens, and whether inspired by tragedy, or something as seemingly simple as a season, a time of year… it transcends so much.

It is, in fact, a spark of magic in humanity.

And, sure, one can hope it catches fire and just goes and goes and goes (in a good, comfy and cozy way vs. a catastrophic, scorched earth wildfire-y way)… but I’ll take whatever I can get.

So, my dear cynics, pardon me as I stand in my lines with a smile on my face, allow a few more people to go ahead of me in the parking lot (even if I lose my spot), or pay for the peppermint latte for whoever thought to say his name was ‘Buddy The Elf’ when asked by his friendly Starbucks barista.

And pardon me, too, if I revel a bit in the extra smiles and wonder that seem to seat themselves in the eyes of children young and old…

As I said, I’ll take it – all of it…

And every chance I get.

Thanks for readin’.


p.s., Happy Birthday, Old Yankee Man. I hope you are having a grand old time up there.  Or down there. (You always did chastise me for assuming you’d be ‘up’ when you left us). I love you.

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