Everyone experiences this time - we'll just say December - differently. For some of us it is full of hope and cheer, and I remember visiting a friend as a child where their tree must have been 12 feet tall and covered with handmade beaded ornaments that the mother had made to resemble faberge eggs. It must have taken her all year! It still boggles my mind. For some it is a good deal more challenging.
My Christmas memories have to do more with the charming way that my grandfather attempted to inspire wonder in the 5 children and his daughter who all landed unceremoniously in the little house he'd been sharing with my grandmother.
Poppy strung the lights every year. Those big bulbs lined the rooftop, and he usually tried to do it when we were in town doing some shopping, so that we'd arrive home to the light show. He got all the good jobs... it was also his assignment to take the kids out looking at lights so that Mom and Mimi could get some wrapping done. In the meantime, we'd all be begging for a tree because all the kids at school had theirs up weeks ago. But no, ours was delivered by Santa - code for: Poppy went out on Christmas Eve and purchased a leftover tree on a lot, dragging it in after we went to sleep. The adults then decorated it with glass balls, lights, and that leaden tinsel of olden times. Sometimes Poppy would get up on the roof and stomp around with a set of sleighbells. Of all my relatives, Poppy was the most magical. That man had some crazy whimsy about him, but most people never knew it. A carpenter by day, he must have spent a lot of time thinking about how he would enchant us. He died a long time ago. I was only 14, and still miss him now.
For my mom, Christmas was an accusation of sorts. It didn't really show when we were kids. She was a great actress. But as we got older, it would throw her into despair, as if all the lights and love and cheerful greetings taunted her with the things that didn't turn out as she'd hoped. Every year she would try so hard to make things right, and every year she saw herself falling short of expectations only she had. Poor Momma never knew that her happiness would have meant more than anything money could buy.
Because we live in this loose commune, there are at least 4 businesses running between 3 adults. One of them is a Christmas tree farm, and we add a shop for the month of December, just to showcase the soap, books, teas, etc., that we do all year long. We have classes (although the last one of the year is today). We do lots of stuff, and the danger is in losing the fun of the season - I'm sure MANY self-employed people can share that sentiment. Last year we celebrated the holiday in mid-January! We won't do that again, though. Anyhow, if we aren't careful, we can lose sight of everything good that's going on. Nose to the grindstone, it's hard to see beyond the spray of grit.
In the long run, I'd have to say that I've finally learned to enjoy this time and let the expectations go. Maybe some old friends will pass through town while visiting family, and we'll get together. The kid will be home from college and the house will fill with young voices and the tempo of youth. We'll all let each other know in one way or another that we love each other - in spite of transgressions and hurts.
Whatever you wind up doing this December, enjoy the people you love.