I find that we often refer to the gifts that come with our living the life we do here at Fernwood. All of the things that keep us engaged and happy here…..our time together, providing our household with the food we grow, doing work that we love. Pretty amazing gifts. But today, as we near that moment of gift giving that will have us up in the wee hours, still in our pajamas, and sipping our freshly brewed coffee underneath a lovely balsam fir that has been brought inside, I want to mention the gifts that will be thoughtfully packaged underneath that tree. Have you ever heard someone say that they don’t like Christmas? I have. I think the Christmas holiday (for some) can bring on a bit of panic, and expectation, and some disappointment. I can understand this, our world has gone ahead and taken a moment in the year that should reflect the importance of peace, joy, and love, and created an occasion for emotions that aren’t at all very reflective of these things. The panic, the feeling of not having enough time, the craze of buying too many gifts to bestow on someone, which also can require loads of money …for what? I always shutter at this, and feel quite certain that if we had to ‘do Christmas’ this way, I’d feel pretty overwhelmed as well. But we don’t. I love this time of year. I love the reflection it can bring. I love making a gift , knitting a hat with wool from our own sheep for a neighbor or friend or loved one, a token of my appreciation for their very presence in my life. I think about them as I sit quietly forming those stitches, happy also to think that this gift will become a symbol of my love and fondness for them. I like feeling that this warm wool hat will help to keep their noggin warm when it’s 20 below.
We feel fortunate that the kids have always had a good handle on Christmas, what it means to us as a family, and how we choose to spend it. We all agree that the meals and time we share together are irreplaceable. We’ve all been in the habit of making gifts for one another, or regifting things, or repurposing old items to create something new and special. We buy some things as well…not much, but we’re not against finding a little ‘something special’ to place into our stockings. Chocolate. A book. A box of tea. One year Zoe tracked down the very shoes I wore and loved in high school ( a pair of leather Clarks), bought them and put them under the tree. The thought of her listening to me fondly reminisce about those shoes, and then searching to find them is so touching…I’m still wearing them! When Noah was twelve and I asked “what might be nice for you at Christmas” and asked him to write it down, he left a slip of paper on the table for me. There were two items, numbered 1. and 2. The first was a welder, the second was ‘scrap metal’. That’s what he got, a used welder gifted to us from an old friend and a pile of scrap metal. He was delighted.
If I could wish for one thing this Christmas, it would be to slow time up a bit. I’d like the 31 days of December to be spent thoughtfully, one day at a time, with each and every person I love. There is some magic to Christmas. There is ceremony. There are lovely gifts to give and receive. I hope everyone makes the most of this holiday season and finds just the right way to spend their Christmas.
Blessings to all…..