The holidays - so loaded with expectation - so fraught with demands. Idyllic visions not always compatible with reality. I loved Christmas when I was a kid - when there was still an air of magic around the presents wrapped beneath the tree. But over the years I confess I went off it - just couldn't find the feeling. The whole season now more about some kind of desperate consumer frenzy that becomes more frenetic with each passing year. While I love the notion of giving - even that got a bit out of whack - trying to express something that money can't buy - trinkets a poor substitute for the feeling. So gradually our efforts got smaller - a few missed holiday parties...eventually vetoing the boxes of holiday cards...presents - mostly a miss. Oh course our imminent move makes the prospect of more stuff not a welcome one. And of course where I am right now - on the verge of a move and on borrowed time - it has its own aura - surreal to look at crowds of people with less than joyful faces circling for parking - the soldiers targeting desperately some perfect gift that may inspire more that a polite smile - or worse a look of disappointment. The barrage of hawkers on television urging more, more, more...a frenzy of debt that most can ill afford in these troubled times. And this year I am not part of any of it really, other than from the observation deck. No one in my family readily making commitments - as we just don't know what each day will bring. Can't anticipate what all of this looks like in a few weeks time. I beg them - no things...I don't need things right now. Not just because it becomes another item to wrap in a moving box but because I am past it - the presents - and they have already given me every ounce of their generosity and energy with every hour they have spent helping to get through the sale of this house - finding a new one - with appointments and paperwork....all of the support it has taken all of us to get through each day. So nothing they would give me - or I could possibly give in return - could mean as much - could compare to this greatest and humbling gift.
I know for some - particularly those with little ones - the magic remains alive and I appreciate there is a contingent of those who embrace the holidays with enthusiasm - parties and sharing time with friends and I watch the passing antics on social media with affection. But I am also acutely aware that many will face this season with one less beloved face around their dinner table - who may be struggling with illness themselves or some other affliction who will struggle through the cheer of it all. To those people I wish you the gift of breathing through it - of taking the prospect of the New Year as a beacon for some kind of healing - not wrapped up in paper - but inside your heart - the place where the magic of the season should shine.