Happily, I am not cooking a full holiday meal with all the china, crystal and linens for tonight. No, I am not wearing a festive sweater with carols playing in the background either. I am not wrapping any presents today. Nor am I anxious, worried, fretful that I don’t have “enough” for someone’s stocking. I am not in panic mode.
I am pretty centered today. I biked three miles, had a couple of glasses of water, did some yoga stretching, bed made, laundry going, you get the idea.
I am not a huge Christmas fan. Oh don’t misunderstand me, I love the advent candles and the church songs and I love baking delicious holiday treats. I love the look of one candle in each window to decorate the house. I love a big, fat, luscious evergreen wreath on the front door. I love sending the perfect gift for the perfect person. I love going on our yearly drive to drink cocoa and look at lights. I love building a gingerbread house with Mr. Right one evening or decorating cookies “the Wilson way”.
This overwhelming panic seems to sneak in around October each year. Reviewing all “that I have to do” just takes hold of me and I can’t seem to calm down. Yes, we budget each month of the year for Christmas. The envelope is always ready if I find a gift or supply to make something, or a rubber stamp for the season etc. So I am not nervous about that. The decorations go up earlier and the people in general seem grumpy. Everyone seems rushed and if you don’t join in, you somehow feel out of the loop.
So along with preparing through saving for Christmas each month, here is what I do: on the 25th of each month I take the day, or one close if it falls on a weekend or a special occasion etc. and I do something for Christmas. I already have my Christmas in October planned. I am working on Christmas cards all day long, October 25th, 2012. I will stamp them and create the return address labels (or order those), figure out a family picture, sign the cards, write a family letter and print those. At the end of the day, they will all be boxed up and put away. September is already earmarked for stockings. Buying or sewing new. Decorating them and spending the day buying little do dads to fill er up! No, I do not look at the contents of the box all the time, it is put away at the end of the day. I am trying to avoid the dreaded sales, mad dashing and frantic pace that seems to begin in earnest in October.
With all the downed trees and limbs and branches of the storm last week, oh my gosh, I could create all sorts of swags and wreaths and baskets of lush evergreens for our home. I am guessing they would dry out and not look so fresh and pretty by December?
Today, I will be in my sewing room. I have ordered supplies and purchased materials & notions earlier in the month. I have set each aside & stacked them up. I haven’t touched one thing, even though I am excited to get started. Today, I will be sewing two different kinds of Christmas gifts. By the end of the day, they will be put away, wrapped in tissue and the sewing room cleaned up. I am making 8 of one craft and 12 of the other. I will do all the finishing work and each gift will be ready to wrap, tag and give.
I can’t begin to tell you how good it feels to open my “Christmas” box sometime the end of November. It is like a breath of fresh air. Somehow by then I will have forgotten that I made my gifts today. Somehow with everything that will go on this year, I will forget that all my little gift tags are stamped and glittered and have string on them just waiting to be used.
Instead of being grumpy and frustrated and feel pushed to make Christmas happy and make everyone around me happy, I get to gently with grace celebrate my own kind of Advent all year-long on the 25th of each month. I get to be joy filled and drink cocoa if I want. I can calmly put my heart and soul into some presents or tags or cards. I keep a little note-book with within the box. If an idea pops into my head about what to get someone or another craft idea to make I jot it down. If I come up with a creative centerpiece or an idea for decorating I note that as well. This year, like every year, we will make our way to the beach for a mini vacation. This time, when meandering through a seaside gift shop or two, I am going to pick up some shells, sand dollars and star fish. Then when I come home, the next month on the 25th I will be wiring each of those and will choose a ribbon to go with. I want our front door Evergreen wreath to have the sea tied and wired all around it. So instead of grabbing a loose piece of ribbon from my ribbon box that will look okay, I will already have in mind what I will be using on our wreath.
Advent is the period of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus and its name comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming”.
So I will continue my own “advent” tradition. It works for me. I will greet each 25th day of the month with grace and a sense of calm. May we all find Christ in every moment of our Christmas. Even if “Christmas” is on the 25th of January, February, March…….