Yesterday I finally opened up our holiday stuff…it’s not much. A collection of unbreakable ornaments, a felt garland we made years ago, a Santa comic I sketched one day that my kids adore, a Matryoshka doll, a roll of candle wick, a book of carols I made, a list of favorite recipes, some wintery children’s books.
To my surprise, everyone got SO excited. The lid of the storage container was literally ripped off. Old snowflakes littered the floor, and several got tangled in the tape before they were put up on the windows. New snowflakes were begun. The angel chimes were assembled after several unsuccessful tries. Ornaments were held up and cooed at. The Matryoshka doll was taken down to even the teeniest, tiniest part by Clothilde (and by some miracle was entirely put together again afterwards). Rose made me put on Nutcracker music. There were requests for cookies.
This all took me by surprise – usually the holiday spirit is entirely up to me. I remember last year it was hard to get anyone to sit down and make a snowflake. This year they were fighting over the paper and scissors. Either they are finally old enough to carry the traditions along for themselves, or my hesitation this year made them start clamouring for gingerbread. It’s nice to step back and watch the celebrating unfold rather than make it like another home school lesson. Perhaps that was the problem last year – I have a fault of over-planning things. I like to be prepared, but then the excitement of the moment can be lost.
I have to say, even with the annual birthday party drawing close, this is by far the least stressful holiday season I can remember. I credit the trip to France for some of this – it reminded me how little stuff we actually need, and how at a certain point, stuff just gets in your way and weighs you down. Hardly any presents and an open schedule feel absolutely divine this year.
And it has reminded me how much I love this season! The turkeys, the candles, the feasting, the singing, the surprises, the tang of pine sap, the smell of good things baking, the oranges and lemons fresh from the trees. And the weather is the best of all – cool and dry, with blue, blue skies full of sunshine – perfect for building next year’s summer garden.