The biggest source of Christmas spirit?
Yep. Lena. Even facing what we are, she is helplessly and infectiously excited about Christmas and that helps us - forces us, really - to rise to the occasion: to nurture and grow her excitement. I am forever grateful for my little girl and at no time more than now. Christmas is just millions of times more fun with her around.
I have been out in the evening walking our new-ish puppy, Mango. Even though I bitch and moan a lot about suburbia, I do like the look of the neighbourhood at this time of the year with all the lights and decorations, brightening my mood at least a little.
I love getting gifts for my family, especially the ones that aren't are their lists. Some years, I am a slave to the list, other years I get an idea into my head and run with it. Sometimes I like making gifts: I have a semi-tradition of carving Lena a love spoon, which she really seems to treasure. I like seeing the anticipation and the reaction of my loved ones as they open their presents.
To me Christmas is all about a full house - family and friends. Sadly, for a number of reasons, we won't be having a lot of family this year, but we have invited our friends and neighbours from down the street, including their two kids, so that should inject some much needed jolliness into the day.
Finally, we have a pretty impressive collection of Christmas music. Soon after Kate and I started going out 20 years ago, I started a tradition of buying her a Christmas CD or two before the holidays. We must have close 40 now. Nothing puts me in a proper holiday frame of mind than some good music (I think my next post will be about my favourite CDs). An added bonus on this front is that every November, Lena puts aside her regular guitar practice and dusts off her Christmas sheet music and plays carols just about exclusively for a month or so.
Well, though we're going through a very sad time right now, I hope that these nice things can buoy us and give us hope and help us get through the next few days, weeks and months.
I thought I'd dig into my archives and see if I had written any Christmas posts before and indeed I have done one in each of the two previous years since I started blogging. Many common themes:
2011: Reflections on the Season
2012: The Christmas Season (a not entirely cheerful reflection, though it ends on a happier note than it starts on.)