It’s almost Christmas and I’m excited! I’ve baked plaetzchen, a German cookie that I make every year as a tribute to my husband’s heritage, and because it’s so darned good. Lights are outside on the house, I’ve got seasonal playlists running and plans are in place for the final preparations for the holidays. And soon, we’ll put up the tree.
No, it’s not up yet and I had to do a bit of a check on myself recently to see if I’m particularly morose after reading an article that suggested that people who put up their Christmas decorations earlier are happier people. My response to this was Bah Humbug!
I love Christmas but only at Christmas. My tree goes up the weekend closest to the solstice on Dec. 21 and is taken down on the weekend closest to Old Christmas Day. The thought of a huge tree taking up massive amounts of space in my living room any earlier fills me with angst. The cats will knock the balls off, climb inside, tip it over. The furniture will be in inconvenient places, the electrical bill will rise and by the time Christmas rolls around it’ll have lost its novelty and specialness.
Perhaps extended anticipation is the thing that makes some people happy but for me, it’s short bursts of special things that I love. I am quite happy all year around. My ordinary life is a joy in its banality. Feet up, holding hands with the mister watching drama unfold on Netflix is special enough for me for great periods of time.
Perhaps there is a very good reason that I’m quite happy all year round and feel no great desire to immerse my life in glitter. It’s because I am constantly surrounded by music, visual art, theatre, movies, books, and most of all, incredible conversations with people who inspire me. I am joy-filled by the community of creators around me and the joy that blossoms daily in my regular, plain old living room.
Don’t get me wrong, I love sitting alone with a twinkling tree, drinking a beverage and enjoying the setting as well. I completely savour it because it’s rare. But if it happened every day it wouldn’t be so special.
I don’t doubt that the people who put their decorations up earlier are happy that they did so. But that doesn’t mean that those who don’t are necessarily unhappy.
As Abraham Lincoln said, “Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
Whether you choose not to celebrate at all, celebrate it briefly or extend your holiday over many weeks or months, the joy is always found in the people you share your life with all year round. To all of you I send wishes for a happy holiday season however you choose to celebrate.
Carolyn R. Parsons is an author who lives in central Newfoundland and Labrador. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org