Weirdly enough I’ve been thinking about blogging a lot more recently than actually doing it. Life has been so very busy. So much so that with a reprieve from the hectic pace, I have kind of gone into a bit of hibernation recently. When I hibernate I think and when I think I usually end up writing it down. Here’s a little bit of what’s been buzzing around in my head.
I’ll admit that this is not my favourite time of year. I’m a borderline Scrooge. It irks me to think that people place way too much emphasis on the wrong things at Christmas time. It’s a holiday that seems to manifest the best and the worst of human nature as far as I can see. Lining up in the worst category, is all the pressure and obligation, all the mandatory gift giving and consumerism. Each year I listen to friends and colleagues stress about the gifts. What to buy for everyone; the cost, the line-ups. Others bitch about the pressures of spending time with relatives or family that one would rather not see. Obligatory gatherings. Awkwardness and bad feeling. I really don’t understand any of this. Buying a gift for someone or turning up to their gathering out of obligation doesn’t foster good will, especially if done under the cloud of resentment.
I know, from the work that my mother does with her programs helping the working poor and those marginalized in our society that many find this time of year particularly difficult. Feeling alone and scared; or with little food or money; perhaps unable to make ends meet or provide for your family; I can only imagine how distressing all the commercialism of Christmas must seem to them. How much would these people give to have the worries that many of the “haves” in society do. When just keeping food on your table is a primary concern, self indulgent whining seems trivial.
Christmas to me is about sharing – time with those we love and who love us, generosity to those who need us – stranger and friend, food and drink and frivolity, knowledge and stories and traditions passed along. But these are not things that in and of themselves need be limited to just Christmas time. While I thoroughly enjoy spending time with my family and friends over a nice meal, we do that a lot all year long. I like giving and receiving gifts, but I think birthdays are better suited for that. I think it’s important to think of your neighbours and those less fortunate, but not just once a year. I enjoy baking cookies, snow covered streets and the smell of pine, but view these as winter pleasures not limited to just one day. I appreciate the importance of marking the birth of Jesus but know that this gets lost in amongst all the shopping and holiday madness. As unpopular a notion as it may be, Christmas to me is not so special a time of year.
I wondered earlier, before writing this blog if perhaps I am just tired. November was a crazy month. I had two of my projects go live at work, successfully but not without their challenges. I spent every waking moment of the month trying to find time to write. I did so in my PJs late at night with laptop balanced on my knees and Murphy snoring away, at work on the few lunch breaks I took, at my local Starbucks for big blitzes and even on a go train ride to Mississauga. If that was not enough, I know I said “sit” more frequently than I can ever recall and have certainly spent a ton of time cleaning up pee and collecting dog toys from around the house. I ate more take out food and drank more coffee than I ever have; and after all that was incredibly proud and very relieved when I hit my 50,000 word mark and the month was over.
I immediately turned the writing energies over to wrapping up work and preparing for our annual Caring & Sharing program, an outreach event to families in need in the Mississauga area. This year we put together gifts, basic household needs, stockings and food baskets for over 115 families. With well over 100 volunteers, the program was a big success again this year and many people are better off through this winter season for the help they received. Here, is some of the best of human nature at work. Each year I am awed by the generosity of those who give and the dignity of those who receive.
With the Christmas charity event wrapped up for the year, my hibernation kicked into high gear yesterday. Off work now til the New Year, I have every intention of reading, sleeping and writing my way into 2010. I’ll visit with friends and neighbours as I do each year and share Christmas dinner with my family. I’ll see movies and hanging out with my puppies going for walks in the snow. I’ll think about the year that has passed and take stock, maybe even gather together a few notions for the coming year – Italy is sounding like a good idea when I say it out loud. As I think of the month of December what has been and what is left, I doubt I will find any Christmas spirit. I’m ok with that. I would prefer a continued feeling of good will towards man, woman, animal and the earth abound in me. I’ll leave Christmas to the elves.
- If who we are is what we do, then like most people, I am a mixed bag of personas. Writer, bookworm, friend, are what first come to mind. Equally apt would be potty mouth, dog walker, Guinness drinker, swimmer, storyteller, political animal, baker and proud Canadian. Mostly though, I consider myself simply insanely lucky to have a small posse of near and dear ones who put up with me and my curvy, creative, curly haired, opinionated self. I started this blog several years ago with the idea to challenge myself in a myriad of ways. Years in, despite the sporadic entries, I still like to muse about the absurdity of life, what inspires surprises and angers me, books and other entertainments, my menagerie, my travels and any other notion buzzing round in my head.