Well, we had a great Christmas, and it helps to pass the winter.
Ina Dobson, January 1, 1933
Ina Dobson, January 1, 1933
One year when I was in high school (nineteen-sixty-something), Mother stayed up all night as December 23 became Christmas Eve so that she could meet her preparedness goals. I had no idea we were so far behind when she told me she would not be going to bed that night, so I volunteered to stay up and help her. While she worked in the kitchen, I wrapped packages. It was probably about 4:00 a.m. when we crept up to bed. After that Christmas, I vowed I had pulled my last Christmas “all-nighter.” In retrospect, I don’t know what she was doing, and that’s the point. Whatever it was we could have done without it. (And I will add here that my extended family is comprised of helpful people, none of whom wanted Mother to be stressed. The demand to meet a certain standard was totally within her own thinking.)
But you know, I mentioned to my octogenarian friends that my mother would occasionally work into the wee hours in order to finish something that was important to her, and these two ladies, a generation ahead of me, both said that they had done that and they agreed that what they accomplished by so doing had been meaningful and fulfilling.
As rewarding as it may be to some, I cope differently. I remember that both Mother and I were often sick after Christmas, symptomatic of too much stress, too much work. And I also remember that after Christmas Mother struggled with post-holiday blues and disappointment. Nothing is more important to me than coming through the holidays without depression. I tell myself that no one wants me to have a meltdown.
Here’s my plan for a successful holiday season:
1. Start early and be realistic about what can be accomplished. And of course, I fail to start early enough or be realistic. So that’s when I must . . .
2. Be willing to cross off the list some of what I had hoped to accomplish. If we don’t have six types of traditional goodies on hand – oh well. I’m the only one who’s disappointed – because no one else even knows what I was planning.
3. Take time to enjoy the season, whether it’s a party or a holiday movie, or just a quiet evening as usual with Mike. The time spent in enjoyment of the season is important.
4. And most important of all is determining a post-holiday plan of action that focuses on what I will do when Christmas is over. I believe Ina is right when she says that Christmas should help us pass the winter. My philosophy is: “It’s not over when it’s over.” It’s not too late to bake holiday cookies, finish up that holiday display, learn to make new ornaments, quilt my holiday quilt or finish up that crocheted lap throw. Most of all, it’s not too late for good deeds. Christmas is a beginning, not an end.
And I will say with Ina, “I stood all the Christmas doings just fine.” KW
[The photos are of the interesting winter effects as the sun sets yesterday and today. The first is a view to the north with the grove reflected on June's field. In the second, the barn seems so clearly defined by light as the sun sets. The fields seem to glow in the third. And the fourth shows Mike hurrying to get into position as Nellie makes a serious point. The postcard is from my dad's collection.]