Tidings of Comfort and Joy

December 9, 2007

Yesterday morning, I read this entry over at LA’s place. I found myself nodding in recognition, and left this comment: My today list looks a lot like your yesterday list. I haven’t yet decided whether or not I’m going to push it off until tomorrow… or maybe never. Heh.

Immediately after I left that comment, I picked up my Simple Abundance book and perused the essay for that day. I could not believe my eyes. I read: “This is the week that women’s shoulders begin to droop as their list of holiday ‘to do’s’ becomes as long and heavy as Jacob Marley’s chains. There’s card writing, card mailing, gift buying, gift wrapping, gift sending, tree buying, tree trimming, cookie baking, party giving, turkey roasting. By next week, unless a Power greater than ourselves restores us to sanity, women will be dropping in their tracks… In case anyone hasn’t noticed, women are the ones who ‘do’ Christmas, performing miracles on demand. Women are Spirit’s deus ex machina, making holiday dreams some true behind the scenes.”

A little further on, Sarah Ban Breathnach advises, “So be of good cheer. Be not frazzled, frustrated, nor frantic, for I bring you tidings of comfort and joy…” Breathnach recommends that we take a look at our list of things to do and cross out two “musts.” We should then use the time that would have been devoted to those chores to actually enjoy the things we love about the holiday season, whether it be “gazing out the window at freshly falling snow, delighting in the sounds of bells and joyful music… or basking in the fire crackling on the hearth and re-creating cherished customs that care for your soul as well as the souls of those you love.”

This essay really struck a chord with me. I used to run myself ragged trying to prepare for the holidays. The insane pace I pushed myself to keep was very  stressful, and, as a result, I was always irritable and/or emotionally wrung out. I didn’t take the time to revel in the merrymaking. There was no delight – only drudgery.

Screw that.

This year, I’m not going to knock myself out trying to make things perfect. (It helps that my sister, Michele, will be hosting the family gathering, so I don’t have to worry too much about the state of my house.)

I’ve been going about the Christmas preparations at a far more leisurely pace. Most of the presents are bought and wrapped, so there won’t be any last minute craziness. The cards are addressed, and ready to be mailed.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care.

The tree, however, is immodestly bare.

It’s a real tree, and has been in its stand since last Sunday. Trimming it is one of those things I haven’t gotten around to yet. The old me would never have let that go for so long. I would have considered it indecent to have a naked tree in my living room. The new me knows that the job will get done in due course. In the meantime, I am taking pleasure in the piny fragrance.

That being said, I do have a busy day ahead of me, and really should get a move on. The pot of tomato sauce I started yesterday (I browned the pork neck bones and beef chunks, but still have to make the turkey meatballs) had to be put on hold because my can opener conked out a quarter of the way through a can of crushed tomatoes. I have the worst  luck with electric can openers. Does anyone else have that problem??) Anyway, I really need to get that sauce simmering.

I also have to get back to the package I was preparing for mailing when an unexpected visit from my father brought that activity to a screeching halt. After he left, I didn’t feel like resuming the task. Instead, I sat and worked on the throw I’m knitting for my grandmother.

Anyway, I really do have a lot to do, so I’d better get going while the going is good.

Song of the Day: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

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6 Responses to “Tidings of Comfort and Joy”

  1. Jim said

    That’s a good-looking tree. I don’t see anything wrong with enjoying it in its undecorated state for a week or so. Think of it as experimenting with a new Christmas tradition: the tree is bare for the first week.

  2. Bex said

    Actually, I think a “bare” tree is beautiful. It’s in its natural state of beauty, and can be enjoyed as such.

    I also have that book you talk about, and it’s so true. Letting go of our “must do’s” is so important. I have let go of almost ALL of mine! I may have gone overboard even! I don’t do cards, I hardly buy ANY gifts for anyone (one small thing for very close relatives and friends and dogs), I have a tiny artificial Xmas tree in the basement that is all decorated and ready to pop out of it’s plastic bag – that is IF I get so inspired… maybe on Xmas Eve. That was when people used to go out and cut down their trees in the olden days anyway, not a month before the Day! Besides, I don’t think pine needles would be especially good for ingestion by the dogs, and I know that’s where they’d end up!

    I don’t do special cooking, and really, I’ve turned into a scrooge almost. But Christmas is just not my thing. Personally, I’d rather just have a day off from working to enjoy doing nothing! I’ve forgotten what that feels like.

  3. In case anyone hasn’t noticed, women are the ones who ‘do’ Christmas, performing miracles on demand. Women are Spirit’s deus ex machina, making holiday dreams some true behind the scenes.”

    I LOVE THAT! so true, so absolutely fu-king true! Could I post this on my blog with another blogsite, puleeze!!!!

    Your daughters are beautiful….and so is the scarf you made…..lovely, lovely.

  4. LA said

    I was talking to Mick about this yesterday. I keep forgetting it’s Christmas! I’ve done no baking or buying or decorating. None. Usually by this time I’m chin deep in wrappings and cookie dough. Just not into it this year. Not in a grinchy bah hum bug way, I think it’s because life is so great right now we don’t need extras. Cool eh? ~LA

  5. Jeanette said

    We have a fake tree and I really do miss the scent of a real tree. As for the decorating, I usually try to do everything the day after Thanksgiving but this year I took about a week to finish it all. We still have to do some outside lights but that’s my husbands job! It’s the baking that’s gonna stress me this year! Especially as I do not have any time off of work!

  6. Penny said

    I love the ala natural Christmas tree look. We did that one year. (it had lights though) We are due to get our tree on Friday now. I so want my tree. I feel like a bad mommy for it taking so long. My husband’s grandfather has a tree farm so we get it there but its an hour away.. We want to make a ‘family’ event so it takes time to plan.

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