Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Carnage and Magic

Day 26 of 365 Tiny Changes

I’m walking for 20 minutes each day, now.  I walk 10 minutes out and turn around and walk 10 minutes back.  I try to trick myself by walking as fast as I can the first 10 minutes.  That way I am forcing myself to walk back at the same quick pace, to keep within my time constraints.  Sometimes, I actually have to keep right on walking past my house on the return leg, because it took me less than 10 minutes to get back...not sure how that works.

Walking 10 minutes out gets me pretty deep into the neighborhood.  This morning, as I walked deeper and deeper in, I was shocked, even amazed in a bad kind of way.  I never heard the sirens.  There should have been sirens.  The carnage was everywhere.  Why didn’t I hear any sirens?  They were lying all over the place, in yard after yard, in all kinds of inhuman positions.  Snowmen, reindeer, Santas, even Winnie the Pooh.  Lifeless, deflated, unplugged.  Why had this happened?  Was it some sort of party that had gone horribly wrong?  Who would have done this?  Who would have killed all of these inflatable lawn decorations?

Apparently I live in a neighborhood that prides itself in “keeping up with the Jones’s” when it comes to Christmas lawn decorating.  I don’t think this was true, until someone invented the inflatable lawn decorations.  No doubt, these were purchased in last year’s after Christmas Clearance Sales, and stored carefully over the hot summer.  They made their appearance Thanksgiving weekend.  Yard after yard, filled with giant Christmas characters, connected to the long orange extension cords, that they are dependent on to power the mini air compressor that keeps them alive.

After seeing this mornings’ carnage, I’m convinced that Christmas is a night time celebration.  At night, the twinkling lights, the white reindeer, the inflatable decorations, all take on a dreamy, North Pole like, appearance.  In the cold gray light of day, I see the reality of metal wire, orange cords, deflated plastic, none of it pretty.

The beauty of Christmas comes in the night. This is the one time of year when sleep deprivation is exciting, because we are creating magic.

The zoo displays thousands of lights at night, and invites visitors in, when any other time of the year the gates are locked up tight.  Santa makes his world wide flight at night.  Children go to bed and wake up to a mountain of gifts that miraculously appear during the night.  We celebrate the night time birth of Jesus at churches filled with thousands of people in the middle of the night.  We create the magic of Christmas in our own homes during the night, after the children are sleeping, when we sneak out to go shopping, wrap gifts, and address Christmas cards late into the night, when normally we would be in bed sleeping, like our children.

I’m not much into decorating myself, or my house either.  I used to be.  I actually had a decorating schedule for the month of December.  Four weekends before Christmas, I would pull out the storage boxes of all my Christmas knick-knack's and sprinkle them through-out the house.  Three  weekends before Christmas, I would put up garland and ornaments around the living room, I would also spread the Christmas table cloth over the kitchen table.  Two weekend before Christmas I would gather the kids and pick out a live Christmas tree.  We would let the branches fall for a day, and then decorate it.  Ta Da!  Ready for Christmas.

In recent years, though, I’ve done less and less decorating.  It’s not the getting it out, it’s the putting it away that I dislike, tremendously.  It’s not even because I’m sad to see Christmas go, it’s more like I’m just lazy and it’s a lot of work, de-Christmasing the house. 

A few years back we didn’t even get a tree.  We had several indoor palm trees.  We gathered them into one corner, we laced them with strings of red lights that were shaped like hot peppers, and wha la, an international Christmas tree.  I love being creative.  We liked it so much we left the lights on one of the trees for the rest of the year.  Just keepin’ the spirit alive, that’s all.

It’s December 6th, and I haven’t done much to prepare for the upcoming holiday.  I’ve ordered a few gifts on line.  I’ve dug out the left over Christmas cards from previous years.  I’ve even purchased Christmas stamps.  I’m just not feeling the spirit, yet.  I think I’ve just gotten burned out on the entire season.  Witnessing the carnage this morning, didn’t help my lack of enthusiasm, either.

So what does one do, when one is not in the spirit for an upcoming event, any event.  Fake it ‘til you make it, baby!  That’s the truth.  I have found that when I just decide to jump in, all in, to the preparations for any event, sooner rather than later, the missing enthusiasm finds me. 

Now, I’m not saying I’m going to rush out and join the Jones’s in their yard decorating gusto.  Nor, am I going to step back in time and take 3 weeks to decorate my house.  I am saying that I am going to begin doing the little seasonal things that are enjoyable to me, like baking cookies, and addressing Christmas cards.  Perhaps, I’ll even convince Guy that he wants to take a stroll with me this evening, to enjoy the yard decorations, inflated, I hope.  

I think that is where the magic truly is.  Not in all the decorations and twinkling lights, beautiful as they are, but in the little things that are done with and  for others, that let them know I care.  All those things, that are done under cover of the cold winter night, are done to build the magic of the season for ourselves and for those we love.

Tiny Change 26:  Keep the spirit alive by focusing on the little things done for others on each and every holiday.

What do you do to build your enthusiasm and create the magic of Christmas or any special day?

Best Regards,


Tiny Blessing of the Day:  I am blessed to live in a neighborhood where the residents take pride in their homes.  There are many areas of our world that suffer from blight.

Let it snow, but keep that air blowin'!

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