Did it Feel Like Christmas?

Christmas 2015 is technically over.  Here in the northeast it was unseasonably warm.  Christmas morning my husband and I took our coffee out on the front porch to sip and wait for the rest of the family to wake up.

Besides the neighbors waving greetings as they stood in short sleeves watching children ride new bicycles.  We saw a December in New York miracle. The pink bloom of a geranium sitting confused in a planter.  You might say, it didn’t feel like Christmas.

Oh we have lights on the tree and mantle.  My beloved Aunt Jess’ crocheted snowman and snowwife displayed, along with Santa, a small decorative rocking horse and those treasurers passed down the generations that have no monetary value, but priceless memories.  You know, the really important things of the holiday.

Then a memory tugged at my heart.  I can remember decorating the tree alone.  I was probably nine years old.  Carols were playing as I unpacked decorations, and delighted in the discovery of silver and gold babbles to shimmer on the tree.  My mom was in the kitchen, and I called to her, asking if she’d like to help me.  A few minutes passed when she came into the living room.  Drying her hands on a dishtowel.  She looked tired, but she smiled and said no, I was doing a great job, but she didn’t really want to decorate the tree.

I was shocked.  Really?  Why not?  She said she guess she was just tired of Christmas.  At the time I simply could not understand it.  But over the years I realized Christmas was extremely stressful for her.  Not only to think about her own kids, family, extended family, the meals, the cookie bakes and gift wrapping parties so many of her friends counted on her to host.  But she also had to contend with my father’s family, who it seemed were never satisfied, who you could spend hours deciding on a perfect gift, that when opened they barely looked at it.  When you try over and over again to please someone who refuses to find joy in anything, it wears you out.  I think she was tired of Christmas, because it did not feel like Christmas.

I ached for my mother, but I found lessons within that less than happy memory.  You can’t let someone else have control over your Christmas feeling.

This year at our home, we had a simple celebration.  There was not as many presents under the tree, or small treasures stuffed in stockings.  The tree held lights yes, but not as many ornaments – it was short and round and stood proudly on a table up away from our dogs, who would help themselves to a pine flavored drink.  It was 66 degrees all Christmas Day.  But it did indeed feel like Christmas.

It felt like it because we wanted it to.  If felt like it because our little family was together, we’re healthy, we found small surprises and big joys.  Not from what was in the boxes, but what was in our hearts.

That is where you feel Christmas.

Not in a department store, on sale, or in line.  You really do find it within yourself.  The Grinch was right!  But there are times, it’s not going to feel like Christmas, and that’s what life throws at you sometimes, it will feel like something else.  I ask you not to beat yourself up for it, or drag others down.  Be kind to yourself.  You might even wish to try something that always makes me feel good.  Write.  Pick up a pen, boot up your laptop, find a cozy spot and write.  Write through the hardships, write through the pain, write about all the memories and moments you could do without, or those you wish to cherish.  Write without caring about spelling or grammar – write for the joy of writing.  I bet you have a story or two or a thousand you want to remember for years to come.  To share with loved ones, or document for yourself.  Both equally important and of value.

So this year if it really didn’t feel like Christmas, well, it just didn’t.  If it did, that’s great.  It did for me Christmas morning and I hugged it, and I hope you felt it too.

May 2016 bring you good health, a full belly, a walk, a roof over your head, warm feet, laughter – which is the bestest medicine.  May you be kind to yourself and those who matter to you.  And may you carve out a time each day to write and explore, think and practice, play and dare to be who you can be.

Breathe Deep, Think Peace


About Patricia Young

Patricia Young spent most of her life in the Northeast. Before the casinos arrived and many of the safety rails installed, she would hike Bushkill Falls and enjoy time in a little cabin by Meadow Lake near the Delaware Water Gap. The school year was spent in New Jersey, but many summers were spent in Mississippi where she wandered in the woods, rode horses, and read piles of comic books with cousins. After graduating from college with a degree in education, she taught fifth grade in Bayside, Queens. When rent climbed to high for her salary she working for the defense industry in Yonkers before starting a small business called, The Giving Tree Day Care. For fifteen years she was "held hostage by two-year-olds!" Writing every day in a notebook for each child to keep communication open to each family. Fast forward to the spring of 2013 diagnosed with severe carpal tunnel syndrome (she does NOT recommend having both hands done at the same time! Often wondering "What was I thinking?!") Physical therapy and time slowly began the healing process and gardening strengthened her hands. After an unexpected, but a deeply personal journey to Montana in the fall of 2013 she decided it was time to reinvent herself and embrace her fondness for writing. With renewed confidence, and a plan to do the work necessary to become a writer, she began writing every day (with the help of 750Words.com - thank you Kellianne and Buster!), submitting to a variety of magazines and contests to practice the craft. Attending writing retreats, workshops, lectures, taking classes, reading and immersing herself in the process. She began to work with writers and authors in the tri-state area. Currently living in Westchester New York Patty lives with her husband of 32 years, two dogs, two fish, and one cat in a little Cape Cod. The laughter, love, and support are plentiful. Patty has completed her first novel presently called "Northeast of 80". Working with her genre editor, she hopes and dreams and keeps fingers crossed to find an agent in the fall of 2019. You are invited to join her on this journey of a writer. To experience her trials, successes and stumbles along the way. Please share your own stories and maybe we can untangle some of the complexities of this writers life together. Breathe Deep, Think Peace
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