I’ve started a new Christmas tradition. It’s called patience.
I’ve learned to wait patiently in line at the post office. I peel of all my layers before going inside so that I don’t pass out from the heat. I know all the post office regulars, and look forward to a brief yet satisfying chat when it’s my turn at the window. I use the time in line to people watch. Sometimes I make productive use of the wait by addressing a card or filling out custom forms.
Patience is a gift you give others, but it’s also a gift to yourself. I feel better about myself when I’m patient.
I’m patient with my husband’s annual fretting over the lights. He once spent four hours on the floor of the garage trouble shooting strands of Christmas tree lights. Our boys were young at the time, and I grew frustrated with what seemed like such a waste of family time. I’ve mellowed. And I’ve come to understand that it’s his thing. He hangs lights on the tree, strings lights on the house, and replaces all the lights in my son’s Christmas inflatables. He makes multiple trips to the hardware store to find replacements. Small packages arrive in the mail containing fuses and bulbs. Mike is a fixer and that’s what makes him happy, so with patience comes an understanding. Everybody wins.
I’m patient with Lindy’s demands for more and more (and more) attention, but I’m patient with myself, too. When I know I need to buckle down and get some work done, I relocate her to a sunny spot in the house and close the door. Prior to that she gets pets, cuddles, treats and a roll in the catnip, but after repeated demands for ear-scratching, I finally remove her from the room so I can get things done.
I have two remarkable teenage boys requiring no patience. I guess all that earlier guidance and patience eventually paid off. They’re both delightful young men. Perhaps this tradition of patience isn’t so new at all. That said, it takes patience to cultivate any good habit, so I’m learning to be patiently patient with myself.
I’m sticking with a few favorite traditions this year, too.
I’m adorning my dress-maker selfie with Christmas cards once again. I love putting her to use sporting all the beautiful cards we receive by mail. It’s a dwindling tradition, but we continue to send our own cards each year and love the ones we receive.
We pull out our artificial tree the day after Thanksgiving and decorate it with the ornaments we’ve collected over the years. Every ornament has a story and that’s what makes it fun. We hang hand-made school ornaments from the boys early days along with ornaments we’ve received as gifts. We like to pick up an ornament when we travel, each one a fun reminder of a different holiday. Thomas the Tank Engine sits among the branches along with a hand-painted Christmas ball from Cannes France. It will come as no surprise that fellow bloggers Julia, Kelly and Marlene also contribute to the history and diversity of our tree. In the few days leading up to Christmas, I enjoy sitting in the dark, tree illuminated, grateful for the love in my life.
Our acrylic globe, a gift from my friend Marcia, becomes a “snow globe” this time of year. Each year is a little different from the last. Here’s the latest: I made a path using Petra paper left over from a holiday plant and some artificial snow. I added a few tiny trees from prior years and a twenty year old wooden snow man. I can squint my eyes and pretend that it’s snowing in San Jose.
Tomorrow I’ll start one more tradition. I’m volunteering for a toy distribution shift at Sacred Heart Community Services. Sacred Heart will distribute over 18,000 toys and books to 6,200 children in need in our community. This is a big step for me, as I used to get mired in depression when working so closely with the disadvantaged in my community. I retreated to a “safer” form of volunteering, either hosting drives, or serving on committees or board of directors. Since the election, I’ve been motivated to get up close again. The goal is to remain open, while at the same time protecting my tender heart. Wish me luck.
‘Tis the season…of Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and Solstice; a time to share of ourselves.
What are your special traditions this time of year?