A Month Before Christmas

Here we are, a month before Christmas, and I am realizing we are going to be home in Chattanooga for Christmas this year.  Having just returned from visiting family for Thanksgiving, I find myself feeling a bit nostalgic for the old days when family from both sides was within a 3 hour drive.

Combine that with the sudden nip in the air and I find myself wistfully wishing I had a few things to look forward to.

For one, gifts piled under a Christmas tree.  There was a time when I would put up a tree and wrap all the gifts early just because I liked the way they looked. I was known for taking ridiculous care in wrapping packages, always folding every crease, never leaving a cut edge exposed, and often hand making bows from interesting ribbons.

These days, I think more about using up leftover wrapping paper, recycling old paper or gift bags, or having things gift wrapped at the store.

As my nephews have gotten older, the things they want have gotten smaller and more expensive resulting in paltry stack that barely occupies the corner of a table, let alone fills the living room.  It’s a good thing they have also outgrown playing with boxes.

I gave up on having Christmas decorations, including a tree, many years ago.  I found not decorating for Christmas a relief.  The amount of work in exchange for a very small amount of time to enjoy the decorations (since we always went out of town) just didn’t seem worth the trade off.  Especially not in January when we kept procrastinating taking down the outdoor lights in the hope of warmer weather.

Now, I watch the cars driving in and out of the tree lot across the street and find myself tempted to get a tree.  But where would that lead?  Next there would be ornaments, garlands, lights, and icicles.  And it doesn’t stop there.  It’s like a gateway drug to hard-core decorating.  Before you know it, you’re putting snowflakes in the windows, lights on the windowsills, and looking for inflatable, lighted Christmas scenes for the balcony.

Instead of buying a tree, I peruse my old photos in search of Christmases past.  I am reminded of cookies, snow, and our wonderful dogs, past and present.

This will be our first Christmas at home in 21 years.  It will be only our second Christmas without my nephews in those 21 years.  The first time, we were camping in the Everglades.  This year, we will be home with no tree, no lights, no gifts, no family.

Sounds like it’s time to think of a new tradition for Christmas.  Maybe I’ll look into renting a snow making machine–a white Christmas in Chattanooga would truly be a Christmas miracle.