Monday, December 2, 2013
December is a difficult month for me for a lot of reasons (all of which are valid, to me, anyway, but none of which matter as far as this post is concerned). While most people are feeling all warm and fuzzy about the holidays, I want to just put my head down and plow through to January. I wind up dreading the whole month -- from Thanksgiving until New Year's Day, really...
And I don't like it.
I don't like feeling Grinchy or sad; I don't like struggling through 1/12 of the calendar, only to be dumped into the coldest, greyest part of the winter.
So today, I'm going to list my 10 favorite things about December... and for the rest of the month, I'm going to focus on those things.
And it's all going to be just fine...
Favorite December Thing #1: The Solstice
The Winter Solstice might just be my favorite day of the year. It's the day that marks the return of the sun... it's a day of new beginnings and renewals... it's my Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year all rolled into one, and I have several little traditions that take place on this day (which I'll tell you about later in the month). It's a very, very good day for me.
Favorite December Thing #2: It's a Wonderful Life
Christmas movies, in general, are not my thing, but I love, love, love this one. Jimmy Stewart is perfection. The story is, and will forever be, both beautiful and beautifully told. How many times have we all wondered what life would be like for others if we'd never been born? The idea that one life -- just one life -- can touch so many others in such positive ways makes me want to be a better person (you know, just in case I ever meet my Clarence on a snowy bridge in Pigsknuckle).
Favorite December Thing #3: The Lights
I love Christmas lights. I do. I love the simple, single strand along a porch railing and posts, mingling with evergreens and bows... I love how people light the trees in their front windows and leave their curtains open for passersby to see... I love the elaborate designs on storefronts and office buildings downtown... I love the houses with every tree in the front yard lit in brilliant glory (and the conservationist in me tries not to think too much about the waste of energy). I like to walk or drive around town, just looking. The lights light me up from the inside.
Favorite December Thing #4: Parties and Get-Togethers
Even if I'm not feeling very holiday-ish, I still really enjoy going parties and getting together with friends. My friends are my chosen family and being in a room with a group of people who not only love me but who genuinely like me and want me around (or so they say)? Well, that might just be the best tonic for all that ails me.
Favorite December Thing #5: The Worldwide Spirit of Giving
Now, this one is a bit of a double-edged sword for me... I love that people become more generous around the holidays... but I also get frustrated that their generous spirits often seem to disappear on January 1. However, since I'm focusing on the positives today, I will not look for or find fault. The bottom line is that I am very, very glad that people dig deep around the holidays, to make better what can be a difficult time for others less fortunate.
Favorite December Thing #6: The Thoughtfulness of Friends
I have been blessed with the most remarkable group of friends -- people who love me beyond reason. They understand how and why this time of year is difficult for me and over the years, they have gone so far above and beyond to make my holidays special, that I never feel worthy. Every year, they make me cry tears of joy and gratitude... and wonder how on earth I got so lucky to find them all.
Favorite December Thing #7: A Christmas Story
This is the other Christmas movie I never miss. I bought it for my dad years ago, because it reminded me of the stories he told about his childhood. We watched it together every year until he died. After that, it was about 10 years before I would see it again, as I couldn't bear the thought of watching it without him. But now I do... with Ryan. And I laugh all the way through it, the way I did with my dad.
Favorite December Thing #8: Holiday Cards and Pictures
I love getting holiday cards and photos from friends and family. I love to see their personalities in the cards they've chosen... I love seeing their family photos... I love to see their kids and how they've grown... and I love to see their furry 'children' in Santa hats and reindeer antlers.
Favorite December Thing #9: Ryan on Christmas Morning
I love that since Ryan was a tiny thing, she has always been more concerned with me opening my present from her than she has ever been about any package under the tree with her name on it. She won't even consider opening a present until I've gotten mine. It never fails to amaze me... or warm my heart.
Favorite December Thing #10: The End of the Year
While I'm always alarmed at the speed at which the year flies past, I have to admit that I love the feeling of renewal that comes with the start of the next year. It's a time for lists and planning and goal-setting and reflecting on what did (and didn't) work in the year past.
And there you have it. I didn't actually think I'd be able to come up with 10 things, but it really wasn't that difficult.
And now... onward December!