Friday, November 25, 2005

'Tis the Season

The first thing I heard this morning was the DJ on the radio saying cheerfully, "It's been snowing all night and traffic is chaos so make sure you leave yourself extra time to get to work this morning."
So naturally, I expected to be greeted by the sight of at least 3 feet of snow when I left the apartment.
Instead, it looked like an angel had burst a bag of icing sugar over Dublin during the night. The rooves, window-sills and cars, the railway sleepers and the stones in between on the tracks, were all dusted with a fine layer of white powder that more closely resembled icing-sugar than snow.
But yes, traffic was chaos. I again thanked the gods of public transport for the commuter train, which fortunately was unafflicted by asshole passengers this morning.

Do you remember what I said at the beginning of the week, about Balance? How I wondered what was in store to balance out the beautiful weekend we had?
Well, I think this might be it.
Reasonably chilly has given way to Friggin' Freezing. Walking home last night I felt the icy fingers of a winter wind clawing at my face and I stopped for only a moment to enjoy the sight of the Christmas lights that were turned on in the village for the first time this season, before scurrying home, buried deep inside my coat, hat, scarf and gloves.

This morning by the time I got to work all my energy had been used up just keeping warm, so I allowed myself a nice warm croissant with butter and strawberry jam from the canteen, with my coffee at my desk. Yes, I had breakfast twice. I needed the fuel. Sue me.
I am now happy and warm - much better for everyone, I'm sure you'll agree, than a cold, hungry, miserable Terri. We all know what she can be like...!

And then it hit me: In exactly one month it will be Christmas! I was overcome by a sudden urge to sing "Jingle Bells" but fortunately I had a mouthful of croissant at the time so was physically unable to burst into song, and the urge passed quickly when panic set in because I haven't even started my Christmas shopping yet!

But you know what? That's okay. Why? Because I'm too excited to let stuff like that bother me. Next weekend my stepchildren and their cousin arrive from SA for a 5-week visit with us and for me that is the best present any of us could hope for. Having not seen them since January, I also have no idea what they would like from Santa this year... okay, I may not be able to get away with the whole "from Santa" thing anymore since they range in age from 13 to 16... anyway, the point is we can all go shopping when they get here.
And boy! Christmas shopping is fun in this part of the world!

Yes, there is an over-proliferation of Christmas jingles played in every shop you enter.
Yes, it is dark from just after 4 in the afternoon until 9 the next morning.
Yes, it is freezing cold (in fact, it's snowing at this very moment).

But Christmas in a cold climate is beautiful!
The long nights are broken by bright lights and decorations everywhere, and if you go into town there are groups of Carrollers on every corner and you just can't help getting swept up in the spirit of things.

I know I have a tendency to "Bah Humbug" the whole thing, but I must confess, I love Christmas.
I love having the family together to enjoy a special meal - it's the one day of the year I don't mind cooking a great big meal.
I love buying and wrapping the presents, and putting the little gift tags on the paper.
I love decorating the Christmas tree, right down to watching Hubby getting annoyed trying to find the one light on the string that is making the whole lot not work - because there is always one, you know ;-)
I even have a double CD of Christmas songs to play in the background while we're eating and then unwrapping the presents.

For me, Christmas happens on Christmas Eve. We always celebrated it then when I was growing up, a legacy of my German family roots. Christmas day was spent with the other side of the family. But Christmas Eve was always the best and I'm convinced it was because everything looked more beautiful and exciting when it was dark outside.

That is what Christmas means to me. It's not the presents, or fighting off crowds of shoppers or stressing about giving or getting the perfect gift.
It is about being with the people you love and enjoying the time together.
It is about making memories that the children will remember with warmth and fondness when they grow up, the same way I remember my own childhood Christmases.

So the next time you're tempted to Bah Humbug Christmas, grab a glass of eggnog and chill out. It only comes but once a year - enjoy it while you can!



Bosbefok said...

Ho Ho HO !! I declare it to be a very merry Xmas ...!! Got snowed on , rained on and nearly slipped in reindeer shit this morning !! (or it could have been horse shit - didnt check too closely). Just make sure you make plenty eggnog with plenty of Whiskey in it !!

Lori said...

There is nothing like spending Christmas with your family that is what makes it special. I am a bah humbug person sometimes it is hard to get in the mood for Christmas here in Florida when it is 70 outside and you are wearing shorts to do Christmas shopping anyway you put me in the mood for it after reading this.

beadinggalinMS said...

Terri I apologize for hurling an egg at your head. I was sooo bah humbug and Miss Scrooge last year. No tree, no cards sent out, no nothing. I took sis shopping and when I got back to MS took kiddos shoppin for their presents and I didnt wrap them. But this year is different. Tree is coming out today, digging out my cards and yes I am wrapping the presents too. LOL Now I am dreaming of a white Christmas might have to make a trip to MO to spend with inlaws oooops cant do that when I have to house sit for evil twin in Fl LOL. Seriously I promise not to be Miss Scrooge this year your post has inspired me. Splat someone with a snowball for me ;)

Terri said...

Bosbefok who u callin' a Ho'?!

Lori I remember well what it's like to have Christmas in sweltering heat... maybe you should try doing your shopping over the internet from the comfort of an air-conditioned room..?

Linda I'm glad to be of assistance. Oh and feel free to hurl eggs... but next time mix it with some nog & send it in a sealed mug, willya? ;-)

Mom said...

Glad to hear you have happy memories of Christmas - that's a big part of what it's all about.

Mom said...

P.S. Do you remember when the tree caught fire?

Lori said...

Ok Now I need to know how the tree caught on fire please please with eggnog on top tell us.

anne said...

Let there be balance, he said: I'll still bah humbug Christmas, but it's great that it means something good to you. ;)

BUDDESS said...

I was away on a course for a couple of days and it was so nice coming back to read this. Well done Terri. Our tree is going up on 1 Dec. I hope it will survive the little ones.

Ben O. said...

Yep, gettin' the tree this weekend as well.

Ben O.

Terri said...

Mom - I must admit I don't remember any details... I wonder if that has anything to do with my fear of fire? Nah, it's definitely that I was Joan of Arc in my previous life ;-)

Lori - I'm afraid Mom will have to fill in the details but I think it had something to do with using candles instead of Christmas lights on the tree - you know, back in the ol' days before electricity lol!

Anne - hehe, clever, that, using my own words to strike a bargain with me!

Buddess - er, ja, good luck with that

Ben - Aha! You like the holidays too, don't you!?!