Friday, December 22, 2006

Have a Very Blessed Yule

Combining two holidays back to back has it's disadvantages. For example, I've been so busy trying to plan for Christmas (and New Years - family is coming and going throughout all the rest of the month), I doubt we'll have time to do much for Yule this year.

Many years ago when we first started trying to celebrate both holidays, I felt a bit disappointed that no matter what I did, Yule was always a poor cousin to Christmas in the family's anticipation and participation. Not that they didn't enjoy adding another holiday into the mix. Hey, more holiday is always a good thing, huh?

I worked hard to try to make it meaningful to everyone in some small way or other and now, many years later, some of our new or blended traditions have been around for so long that no one really remembers a December without them. But let's face it, tradition is hard to change and the real star of the show for kids is the guy in the red suit. And since the guy in the red suit had always come on Christmas Eve, the same as for everyone else, for continuity's sake he's continued to come on Christmas Eve and so December 24th is the date for which the energy builds to a peak.

Over the years, however, I've discovered that being the less noticed holiday isn't all bad. Having less hype and expectations means there's more potential to get more out the experience then what one was expecting. I've learned to appreciate that no matter whether we manage to squeeze in the Yule traditions we've accumulated over the years or not, for me, there's always some very private, often quiet moment in which the solstice reaches out and touches me in a way that makes the entire holiday season come together into something cohesive, makes it something greater then the sum of it's parts. It's the "It's a Wonderful Life" moment for me that washes away the commercialism, cynicism, and frustration of "why am I doing all this again?" and transforms it into something worth all the spending and exhaustion that always manages to creep into the holidays no matter how hard I try to keep it out.

Sometimes it's a single point in time, deep in the longest night of the year, alone under an icy star strewn sky. Sometimes it's just a subtle dawning that the "perfect" holiday I'd planned isn't gonna happen, will never happen, and that the chaos and serendipity that unfolds instead is far more precious then any perfect holiday could ever be. Regardless of how and when it happens, the gift Yule always seems to bring to me is a breaking of the tension that has built up, usually since somewhere weeks before Thanksgiving, so that I can relax and enjoy whatever the rest of the holiday season will bring our way.

It's early morning now and I've managed, without having planned it, to stay up for most of this transformative night, wherein the old year lays down and dies and the new year arises young but full of potential with it's first cold sunrise. I've been wrapping gifts all night. My fault for waiting until the last moment. So many gifts not because I've gone money crazy but because I love to indulge in a dozen small surprises for each person. My own insanity for being the kind of person who will wrap a pair of socks each sock separately if it means someone will enjoy having another package to enjoy tearing open.

Along with the emotional and spiritual aspects of the holidays coming together for me tonight, the practical aspects of things seem to finally be sorting themselves out as well. The madness and disorganization that I've been working in the last few weeks suddenly seems easy to pull together into something that is, if far from my first enthusiastic ideal, at least a satisfying crazy quilt of warm traditions.

Sunrise won't be here for another two hours and I'm tempted to stay up to greet it. Reality, however, is that I have to coordinate life with hubby and son, who have both been slumbering away for long, long hours. Plus, Sam is planning to drive home tomorrow and I don't really want to sleep through his arrival. Better for me to have enjoyed that part of this night I've already spent company with and "call it a night" so I'll have some energy to enjoy the short daylight hours of the first day of winter.

So, goodnight. Or if you're far east of me, then a good morning to you as I wander off to bed. Regardless of what holiday or holidays you and yours choose to celebrate in this winter season, my wish is for you to experience the full peace and happiness that your traditions can bring to you. May your nights be filled with sweet dreams and your days be filled with purpose and joy - and perhaps a cookie or two and a nice cup of eggnog by the fire.


Blogger Deb R said...

Your fire looks wonderful!

I got your card in the mail today. Thank you! :-)

9:51 PM  
Blogger Jan said...

Lovely post today, Laume. Best wishes to you and your family.


9:28 AM  
Anonymous AscenderRisesAbove said...

I have enjoyed visiting and looking at all the photos; (loving the baby ones!)

It has been fun getting to know you this year. Wishing you a happy holiday and a peaceful new year!

10:06 AM  

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