No matter what your religion or beliefs, at the heart of December is anticipation and rejoicing.
December has cookies and cookies and more cookies; blankets of fresh snow, fulfilled wishes hiding in closets, school vacation, and new calendars. December brings out-of-town relatives, bells ringing outside stories, and always wondering where the scissors and scotch tape are hiding. December has soggy mittens, salty cars and daily delivery of real mail sent to you by people you actually know.
But there is a lot to do in December. So much that sometimes we forget to let the anticipation build and the joy overflow.
I used to love and take a lot of pride in wrapping presents with charming paper, crisp edges, squared corners and coordinating (or contrasting) ribbons. Now I wrap quickly using whatever paper was chosen for me in the school fundraiser holiday assortment value pack. I’m not sure whether I don’t care because of laziness, limited time and shifted priorities, or the fact that these presents will likely sit in a bin in my basement until 30 seconds before my handiwork is overlooked and ripped right off to get to the good stuff.
It’s really unwrapping and getting to the good stuff that matters anyway.
So this December, I’m going to hastily wrap up the exhaustion, the expanding to do list, and the thoughts of January’s credit card statements, so that I can unwrap the way the air smells before it snows, driving slowly to look at Christmas lights, and the peeling faded out construction paper and toilet paper tube ornaments decorated in preschool scribbles.
I’ll wrap up family and social politics and having gift cards and $10 bills on hand for teachers, teacher assistants, coaches, babysitters, piano teachers, mailmen, garbage men, and whoever else I forgot, and unwrap my kids’ eyes growing when they spot a candy cane or almost any large man with a white beard.
I’ll wrap up everything thing I’m “over” with 2012, and unwrap the potential for 2013.
I’ll unwrap kids in turtlenecks and new pajamas, all things cinnamon, and the Christmas cactus beginning to bloom bringing me good memories of grandmothers past. I’ll unwrap two sisters in a bunk bed giggling in the dark about getting to see their cousin, Pete, soon. I’ll unwrap fresh bags of brown sugar, recipes stained with decades of use, cards with personal notes from people who had I no idea I’d be so happy to hear from, and music everywhere. I’ll unwrap being still in rooms lit only with candles or fireplaces or twinkle lights. I’ll unwrap being behind a lot of surprises, but there being a few left for me. I’ll remember to unwrap the anticipation of happy people, a star in the sky, and something big coming. I won’t forget to unwrap my joy.