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Christmas Traditions

Dear Reader,

I have received three Christmas cards, so far this year. 

There seems to be a theme.

For me, 2018 has definitely not been a year characterized by joy.  Disappointment, frustration, anxiety.  There's a reason that people don't put those words on Christmas cards.

Years ago when I was living in England, I used to joke about the freedom of having no house, no car, no kids and no debt.  Now I'm a single "mother" of two (dogs) with a car, a tractor, a house, (read: mortgage) and a very tall stack of consumer credit cards, all located in a place that is cold, has ridiculously high taxes and is a hassle to travel to and from.  In summary: through a series of well-meaning life choices, made for good reasons, I find myself with a life I never wanted.

So I've made it through Denial, I've given up on Bargaining and now I'm working through Anger and Depression so I can make progress on Acceptance: I'm going to be in Maine for a while.

Now, let's talk about Christmas.

I love Christmas.  Advent services.  Christmas tree lights.  Poinsettias.  Caroling.
But it's not quite the same when you're doing it by yourself.  And honestly, I wasn't about to add a big box of Christmas decorations to the stack of things I was loading in to the trunk of my car.

Still along with the fact of my permanent residence, it's time to face the fact that I'll be alone on this Christmas and most probably for many Christmases in the future, and it's therefore time to create some traditions.

Tradition 1: Get over my prejudice against fake trees.
I like real trees.  They smell nice.  There's a lot of happy ritual about "choosing the right tree".  And! they are biodegradable.
Also, they are heavy and unwieldy and I am a weakling with a small car, narrow hallways and a "chew-happy" puppy.
Several clicks later and a reasonably sized, manageable-by-one, "fluffable" (if not biodegradable) tree was on its way to me.

Once the room is dark, who can tell the difference?

Tradition 2: Play with toys.
Years ago (also in England) I spent Christmas with a friend and her family.  Celebrations included a large Lego kit which was assembled by the adults.  I have appropriated this idea.  For the fourth year in a row, I plan to spend Christmas meticulously organizing and assembling Danish bricks.  Because of aforementioned debt problems I DIDN'T buy the Millennium Falcon.  But not because I didn't want it. 

This year is another "throw back to England" kit.

Tradition 3: Watch cheerful Christmas movies with nice characters.
The modern world seems to have a fixation on "dark" story lines.  But Christmas still provides an excuse to watch a wide selection of cheesy, happy films.

So far this year, I've watched Holiday Inn (a classic), a Norman Rockwell Christmas (meh), Beyond Christmas (sweet) and the Christmas That Almost Wasn't (some catchy tunes). 
Next up: the 12 Dogs of Christmas.

Still to do:
Tradition 4: Plan a menu which involves cooking something I haven't cooked before.  Very possibly fruit cake.
Tradition 5: Find a midnight candlelight service if possible.  Alternatively just a midnight service.  Or just candlelight.  Or just a service.  Basically the closest approximation I can find to Christmas Eve at St. George's Chapel, Windsor.

2018 is almost over.  2019 is not just a new year, but a new chapter.  So here's to plastic bricks, candied fruit, fake trees and feeling at home.

Wishing you joy for Christmas and the New Year,
~~ LeAn


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