December is a month of parties, gifts, commitments to see friends, and doing all of the expected Christmas activities. If we are not doing what our friends have accomplished or what we too expect of ourselves we can allow ourselves to feel defeated or worse.
This year Christmas season has been quite different for our home. The usual tree decoration and fanfare did not happen after the turkey dinner. It didn’t happen the first week of December and up until 5 days ago a there was no sign of Christmas in or our around our home. I was feeling badly about this but knew it was nothing I could control. I was determined to stay focused on what was before me and not what I had not accomplished. It was refreshing and it worked for me.
This Sunday we hosted a small Open House in our beloved Miss She Shed. I had hopes of a few visitors stopping in to say hello and have a cup of mulled wine or punch. (not just any punch, a locally wild crafted Sumac berry punch, delish!) Local nut cake was cut and little snacks and goodies were set on pieces of my Grandmothers glassware, David’s Mother’s cake plate and a few other family hand downs through the years. It began to look a lot like Christmas. We put lights around Miss She Shed, put a small tree inside and it even smelled a lot like Christmas. To my surprise we had a constant flow of visitors and even shoppers for Good Acres Life goods.
Everything was perfect in every way, just being with our friends in that moment was my Christmas gift.
There were many things the OCD me would have liked to have completed, like folding up frost covers hanging on the fence, straightening the crooked pictures on the walls and even mopping the dirt covered floor. But it didn't seem to matter. Being with my tribe was what mattered.
After the open house hours formally ended a small gathering of friends and a neighbor sat together, David joined us along with the dogs. We sang the 12 days of Christmas, laughed and were not worried about the time of day. As the evening progressed we moved inside. Our neighbors up the hill came down and for the first time I put on our favorite Christmas music. With the help of a friend we brought down boxes of ornaments from the garage and began to decorate the tree. Decorating the tree with my tribe was what mattered.
This was the moment I said to myself, what matters? Does it matter that every ornament is spaced perfectly? Does it matter that I am the only one that knows which ornaments to place on the tree in 4 boxes of years of decorations? NO, it did not matter this year. I let it go.
What mattered was the smile on the faces of the two friends who jumped right in to decorate. As I observed them I was filled with Christmas spirit. The ornaments were not hung as I would have in past years. We used old ornaments that were gifts, handmade ornaments from David’s Mother. Even the ornaments made from popsicle sticks by our daughter Ashley in grade school are making an appearance on our tree this year. The tree is not fully decorated yet. I have passed by it a few times to marvel in my ability to see what matters. It’s is not the perfectly decorated tree, the Christmas cards I have yet to send or that there might not be any wrapped gifts until next week.
What matters is being where we am supposed to be. Doing things that bring us joy and forgetting about what the status quo might be this time of year. What matters is this year is that I am aware of what has happened these last months and what has been accomplished. I am fully aware and thankful for the embrace of friends from afar and close by. And for my Master Gardener friends, classmates and all who have wrapped their arms around and nurtured this small endeavor Good Acres Life. This is what matters.
Merry Christmas to you all.