Late out of the blocks this year, I have been chasing Christmas ever since.
In fact, I’d barely shaken the cinder dust off Thanksgiving, when I looked up and saw Santa rounding the first turn. I panicked just a little. It would be a ho-ho-horrible thing to be lapped by an old, jelly-bellied man in a red velvet suit.
I picked up my pace.
Normally, I spend Black Friday streaming Christmas tunes and decorating the inside of my house, but, somehow, I’d regular-lifed my way straight through Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday without hanging any garland or buying a single gift.
I managed to get the stockings on the mantle just in time for St. Nick, but they kind of glared at me as they hung there all limp and empty. After a while, I just avoided making eye contact with them. It got awkward.
Last Saturday, I wrestled the outdoor Christmas lights onto the bushes in our front yard (an annual disaster that, this year, only required one trip to the hardware store, although the E in my love lights needs to be shaken back to life every now and then and I can’t find the icicle lights I usually hang from the balcony.) Wednesday night we finally got our Christmas tree but had no time to hang the ornaments.
So, yesterday, I hauled up the ornament boxes and got to work. At first it seemed very unfestive to be hanging ornaments all by myself in a time slot I’d penciled in between work and an oil change.
But, Christmas ornaments bring their own magic to the room and, as I’ve written before, each one tells a story. I slowed down a little bit and took a lap or two around memory lane.
We have several football ornaments and each one represents a specific season in our sons’ lives. If you squeeze the 2009 football, it still yells “Hut Hut Hike!” in a startling way that cracks me up every time.
A doll ornament has been missing a leg since 1994, but she’s still beautiful and she reminds us of a feisty little neighbor who would pop by for a visit every now and then.
I am lucky enough to hang ornaments from my grandparent’s collection, so our tree holds generations of Christmas traditions that grow deeper every year.
It took a long time for me to hang all those ornaments, which led to my annual Christmas epiphany.
You can’t chase Christmas or it will beat you every time. You’ve got to pace yourself, dig in on those curves and enjoy the straightaways.
The magic of Christmas happens in the moments — the happy ones you experience in the sweet bustle of family life, and the quiet ones you’re lucky enough to find on your own.