We’re on the downhill slide of days approaching Christmas now, and winter solstice is just around the corner, so it’s time to doll up the house for the holidays. Yes, I wait until now. No, I don’t put up my tree on Thanksgiving.
The twelve days of Christmas are the days AFTERwards, not the month beforehand. I’m a stickler for mythological and anthropological accuracy. I firmly believe in the importance of taking a breather between celebrations.
Anticipation. Writer’s guides talk about emphasizing it all the time. Sometimes they call it suspense. There’s even a song about it, one that got made into a commercial jingle for ketchup.
And yet, IRL, in our daily lives and in practicing our family traditions, it’s all too easy to rush through the preparation in our hurry to get to some self-imposed finish line of Doneness.
Preparation is not a burden to be endured. It’s part and parcel of the celebration itself. Don’t rush the moment of revelation. The point is not to get the tree up and get the chore done so that you can admire the sparklies. The point is that you’re building the scene. Don’t squander the joy of creation. Savor each minute spent brushing dust off boxes, unpacking ornaments, and revisiting holidays past. Even the painful memories–and I doubt there’s anyone over five who lacks a few of those–are precious and deserve your full attention.
That’s enough philosophy for one morning. Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s hot drink to be drunk, treats to be nibbled, and a recalcitrant train set to be wrestled into submission.