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Deck the Halls….

Yule Tree and presents

I seriously debated pulling out all the decorations this year.  It’s not as though I’ll be entertaining.  I’m not even sure I’ll get to baking (although I’m thinking I’d like to try.)  Thing is with so much greed and anger in the world, and the days getting longer and darker, and with unseasonably warm weather and no snow I’m struggling to have any holiday spirit.

Found a spot for the horses and reindeer to gather

Of course that’s all the more reason to dig out the boxes and dig in.  That’s what I’ve been doing in fits and starts all week.  Clearing space felt pretty good.  I’ve needed a new printer for awhile and it’s been sitting in the box since my pre – Thanksgiving shopping.  I pulled the old one out and set up the new one knowing I would put the tree in front of it.

I cleared out shelf space as well.  Since I’ve not had  a kitchen my coffee/tea cups have been sitting on the buffet.  It was definitely time for that runner to be washed.  I did a little dusting (and in a few places some serious dusting).  I also had to make space, in my room full of kitchen boxes, for the ornament boxes to live for the season.

Traded space for my holiday mugs and runner

Orion listens to holiday music all year round.  We have a rule about our shared music spaces (like the car): Holiday music only after Thanksgiving through New Years Day.  So I’ve been playing the holiday music channel during dinner and leaving it on over the weekends.  I have yet to put on my CDs, but I’m getting there.

I’ve spent my evenings watching Hallmark movies with a bowl of popcorn in my lap.  I’ve also had a needle and thread at hand and bit by bit have managed to string a sufficient amount to trim the tree.  I make a point of turning on the lights.  When I’m up early, especially if it’s a grey day, I find myself turning them on in the morning and leaving them to brighten up the house.

The tree again, view from my chair.

Packed up the summer seashells and dug out the bells

I pick up presents when I see them and stash them in my closet.  So I pulled everything down to inventory what I have and what I still need to buy.  Apparently I’ve been busy because I only have a gift card left to purchase.  Santa often makes a last minute online run for movies, but Santa’s budget is bleak.  It’s a relief to know I don’t have a lot of shopping left.  Well, except for the grocery store if I get to that baking…………

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Magic

A house in my neighborhood.

A house in my neighborhood.

There is something about this time of year that is simply magical.  Maybe because it gets dark so early we find ourselves outside in the night a little more often.  The stars sparkle and their light is reflected on the snow.  Because its cold the air feels clear.  There is a sharpness to sound that evokes the ringing of bells.

Solstice Blessings

Solstice Blessings

There is a fantastical element to all the lights and decorations.  Santa can be seen in his red suit.  But Santa can also be found in small acts of kindness.  Smiles and seasons greetings pop up in unexpected places.  Generosity is abundant (and often unbounded when credit cards come to hand).  Giving small gifts of time, handmade treasures and treats or the perfect purchase is it’s own reward.

Orion is telling his good buddy Santa all about spreading holiday cheer.

Orion is telling his good buddy Santa all about spreading holiday cheer.

The season lends itself to surprises.  Unexpected guests drop in.  Carolers seem to appear from nowhere in the malls.  The postman brings cards and letters from friends far away, and sometimes packages.  It snows on the internet and inboxes are filled with invitations to festive celebrations of friends and family.

Time is funny between the solstice and New Years day.  School children are underfoot destroying any sense of routine. The offices that are open seem to have more free spaces in the day for chatting with co-workers or stealing treats from the break room.  Holiday hours are posted making that late night run for milk sometimes a tricky affair.  The mail and the garbage man seem to come intermittently and never when you expect.

The lights on my tree are Karina and Orion.

The lights on my tree are Karina and Orion.

Even staying at home can get busy.  There are presents to wrap and cookies to bake.  The smells fill the house and evoke memories of holidays past.  Boxes of decorations have been brought out of storage.  They also hold memories, keepsakes of holidays past.

All this can be frustrating and annoying and cloying and difficult.  But take a deep breath, and remember how special this time of year can be.  Slow down and notice the magic, the spirit, and the joy.  Stop before rushing off and take in the night, and the cold, and the clarity.

May the magic of the season stay with you through-out the coming year.

Hearthfires burning

Hearthfires burning

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