Where The Heck Did Christmas Go?

It’s January 11th and I really hope Christmas gets here soon. Wait, Holy Crap, it came already didn’t it? Mother of God, I think I missed it!

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Eleven days into the New Year, I realize that I never caught its’ start. Trying to piece together the particulars of the last six weeks, I remember the latter days of November, when I decorated the little shop I work in with holiday ornaments mustered up from the stock room. I can summon up an image of eating a delicious turkey dinner on a grateful Thursday, and I recollect battening down the hatches, readying myself for the big Black Friday sale I was asked to host at work. I know I penned several holiday pieces for the few websites I now write for and gifts got wrapped, but after that it’s all a blur.

Sitting here today, one after the other visuals of me doing comes to mind:

-I’m standing in line at the US Post Office, arms full of items that I hope will be just right for their recipients. I have just taped my boxes at the counter, feeling thrilled because they are all slated to get to their destinations before Santa. The envelopes, with the holiday card, have just been stamped and are now ready to journey to family and friends far away, letting them know that we really do miss them.
-I am driving to the mall, while mapping out our upcoming road trip up north in my head. Mental notes are being filed about what we can do and who we hope to see along the way, as I search desperately for a parking space in all the holiday rush.
-I see us hiking in the mountains of North Carolina and ringing in the New Year in Times Square, as I am doggedly clearing invoices off my desk so that I don’t leave any unfinished business at work. So I won’t be missed. While I work, the mountains of homemade fudge and cookies that seem to be in unlimited supply these days are once again calling to me. My hope is that a few brisk walks on vacation will help me shed some of the L.B.s.

And the most glaring of all these visuals, the one that stands out the most in retrospect, is that of my head spinning the whole time, because I wanted everything to be perfect.

I wonder: Have you ever spent as much time as I did this December, working so hard to be all things holiday, trying so utterly to make it special for the people that you love, that you realize it all came and went without you? Was there ever a holiday in your life when you were so busy being busy because of all the pieces and parts you are juggling, so worried about what you would do and where you would be and who you would be with, that you had no time to stop and do and be in the middle of all of it?

Today, eleven days into this New Year I am hit with a revelation. Sometimes, I try so hard to get things right and to make memories, that I forget I don’t have to try at all, but simply be. I can wish I may and wish I might so much, that I lose sight of what the holidays are all about. In the middle of being invested in making them right and good, it is easy to forget that everything Christmas that matters is right here in my heart already and that all I need to do is to let it out. Once in awhile, I get so tired from being stretched so thin in all the trying, that I can lose my sense of why I am trying so hard in the first place. I forget that all the gifts and blessings I could ever give to anyone are already within my possession each and every day if I remember to honor them.

And so, as I go about this twenty four hours, present for whatever may come, if I encounter early Valentine’s Day cards out for display already, I will simply smile and remember just to bring love instead of frantically trying to get the right and perfect token to show it. Still, I might start planning for next Christmas now. It will be here in a minute anyway since it’s all going so fast. And that way, perhaps I will be able to stand still long enough to enjoy it all a bit more.

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