It's finally starting to feel like Christmas—or at least Christmas as it looks to me. I was starting to think the whole thing would pass me by this year. Usually I am well into end-of-year-holiday mode in October, but this year, having ended a 99-day cross-country research trip and landed unexpectedly in Niagara Falls, NY, it felt nothing like usual. We moved into this apartment and tried to get settled. We had a week of fall-like weather and then it got warm again. But somehow, yesterday morning, I woke up and felt Christmas coming on. Now, I should be clear that what I mean by “Christmas” is not really what other people mean. I am not a Christian and Christmas has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus for me. It is more about taking time to get quiet and go within myself. I love the darkness—it's my time of year when the daylight hours are short and the weather is cold. Long, sunny, warm days are days I hate. So in winter, I can relax and enjoy the peace and quiet that seems to come along with the cold and dark. I find it refreshing and necessary for my own well-being. I find that I really have to have this time of year in order to recharge myself and get ready for the year to come. The last three months of the year are when I reconnect with myself. For other people, spring seems to be associated with rebirth, but for me it is definitely December. I always end up feeling reborn then. So it is certainly an important time of year for me. I spend a great deal of time listening to music and creating things for the holidays. I like to make ornaments and gifts. I give some to people I care about and spend a lot of time thinking about them as I am making things for them. I make some stuff to just give away to people I don't know very well, if at all. It's just part of the season. There's a different vibe in the air. And I find that I crave it. I look for it. And when I wasn't finding it on schedule, I was feeling a bit of panic about it.
The past few years have seen me sort of not have much of a holiday season. I had a bad reaction to pollutants in the Klamath Falls air last year and then when that was over, Bill got sick. The year before I had a bad work schedule and was exhausted trying to work long shifts and do the usual holiday stuff. I didn't get to do some of it and that really made a difference in how I experienced the season. This year, I had to give away most of my Christmas stuff because we were making this trip. I got it down to one box, but that box is sitting in a friend's garage and won't be here for Christmas, so I am starting from scratch. I won't be able to watch my many versions of A Christmas Carol. I won't hang up all of the ornaments I have made over the years. It won't be usual. And I am thinking that maybe this will be a good thing. It will force me to do things in a new way instead of just kind of doing things as I have always done them. So I have lots of new ornaments planned. I can stitch them, hang them up, listen to my winter music, and have my special time of the year. Since I was flooded with ideas yesterday, I have no shortage of projects lined up. So it's beginning to feel a lot like pre-Christmas. What a relief!