Hol­i­day tra­di­tions

The joy of an­tic­i­pa­tion

The Central Voice - - Front Page - Carolyn R. Par­sons Carolyn R. Par­sons is an au­thor who lives in cen­tral New­found­land and Labrador. She can be reached at car­olyn­r­par­[email protected] gmail.com

It’s al­most Christ­mas and I’m ex­cited! I’ve baked plaet­zchen, a Ger­man cookie that I make ev­ery year as a trib­ute to my hus­band’s her­itage, and be­cause it’s so darned good. Lights are out­side on the house, I’ve got sea­sonal playlists run­ning and plans are in place for the fi­nal prepa­ra­tions for the hol­i­days. And soon, we’ll put up the tree.

No, it’s not up yet and I had to do a bit of a check on my­self re­cently to see if I’m par­tic­u­larly mo­rose after read­ing an ar­ti­cle that sug­gested that peo­ple who put up their Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions ear­lier are hap­pier peo­ple. My re­sponse to this was Bah Hum­bug!

I love Christ­mas but only at Christ­mas. My tree goes up the week­end clos­est to the sol­stice on Dec. 21 and is taken down on the week­end clos­est to Old Christ­mas Day. The thought of a huge tree tak­ing up mas­sive amounts of space in my liv­ing room any ear­lier fills me with angst. The cats will knock the balls off, climb in­side, tip it over. The fur­ni­ture will be in in­con­ve­nient places, the elec­tri­cal bill will rise and by the time Christ­mas rolls around it’ll have lost its nov­elty and spe­cial­ness.

Per­haps ex­tended an­tic­i­pa­tion is the thing that makes some peo­ple happy but for me, it’s short bursts of spe­cial things that I love. I am quite happy all year around. My or­di­nary life is a joy in its ba­nal­ity. Feet up, hold­ing hands with the mis­ter watch­ing drama un­fold on Net­flix is spe­cial enough for me for great pe­ri­ods of time.

Per­haps there is a very good rea­son that I’m quite happy all year round and feel no great de­sire to im­merse my life in glit­ter. It’s be­cause I am con­stantly sur­rounded by mu­sic, vis­ual art, the­atre, movies, books, and most of all, in­cred­i­ble con­ver­sa­tions with peo­ple who in­spire me. I am joy-filled by the com­mu­nity of cre­ators around me and the joy that blos­soms daily in my reg­u­lar, plain old liv­ing room.

Don’t get me wrong, I love sit­ting alone with a twin­kling tree, drink­ing a bev­er­age and en­joy­ing the set­ting as well. I com­pletely savour it be­cause it’s rare. But if it hap­pened ev­ery day it wouldn’t be so spe­cial.

I don’t doubt that the peo­ple who put their dec­o­ra­tions up ear­lier are happy that they did so. But that doesn’t mean that those who don’t are nec­es­sar­ily un­happy.

As Abra­ham Lin­coln said, “Folks are usu­ally about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”

Whether you choose not to cel­e­brate at all, cel­e­brate it briefly or ex­tend your hol­i­day over many weeks or months, the joy is al­ways found in the peo­ple you share your life with all year round. To all of you I send wishes for a happy hol­i­day sea­son how­ever you choose to cel­e­brate.

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