Coexisting with the Holidays

xmas s carf

Last night I had a dream that I was walking in the woods and something was following me.  It wasn’t walking behind me, but along side me.  I couldn’t see it, because it was off the path in the thick woods, but I knew it was a bear.   When I ran, it ran, when I walked, it slowed down.   I didn’t feel threatened by the bear, but it didn’t feel good either.

When I looked up the meaning of being chased by a bear in a dream, I found it meant I was avoiding something that I needed to confront.

That’s when I thought of the holidays.  How they’re beginning to loom over me.  How I wish they would just go away.  Then Jon suggested that  we don’t celebrate  Christmas.  And the holidays started to feel a little bit better.  It’s been a dream of mine for a long time to do just that.  But Jon always seemed to want to try to make the day special and I didn’t want to take that away from him.

So this year we’re thinking differently about the holidays.  Not running from them, but making them what we want them to be.  And Christmas, as a day of being together with Jon, and the animals, reading, walking, taking it easy, that feels really good to me.

So when I went into my studio this morning and was looking through my vintage hankies to make more scarves, I found the stash of Christmas hankies.  I could have left them in my box, but then I knew they’d be there for at least another year.

So I decided to put them together and make them into a Christmas Scarf.  Just the opposite of what I want from my holidays.  But, while I know I’m not alone in my distress this time of year, I also know there are so many people who genuinely enjoy the season.  It has meaning for them that I’ve never been able to grasp.  So I like the idea of sending these Christmas hankies, some of them soft with wear and others stiff with having been kept safe for years, back out into the world.

They’ll bring someone some Christmas joy, not something that would happen if I left them in my hankie box.  And I have to say, I like the way the design of this scarf came out.

Also, I’m tired of running from the bear.   Maybe this year we can just coexist.

14 thoughts on “Coexisting with the Holidays

  1. Have always been the stick in the mud at holiday time because it was a very stressful time when I was growing up. When my first husband died my grief mentors told me I did not have to even acknowledge the holidays if I did not feel in the spirit. So I was given permission to skip it that year. This year we lost our wonderful golden retriever Rusty and my heart is full of sadness once again. I don’t need permission this time! I am just going to have a quiet day. Thanks for your perspective.

  2. I think the holidays are hard for everyone, in one way or another. I lost my dad when I was 9, so Christmas after that always took place on Christmas Eve (my mom thought it would be easier to let me sleep in on the holiday rather than face the traditional morning without him there), and by the time I left home at 19 it was just uncomfortable. Some of my happiest Christmases were spent at home watching It’s a Wonderful Life with a bottle of wine and snacks of my choosing, because then I could enjoy the fantasy of Christmas without reality interrupting. Now it’s Christmas with the in-laws, again an uncomfortable experience, but we take either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, stay quietly at home, make ourselves an extravagant meal and that’s our holiday. No gifts, just peace, quiet and togetherness. You and Jon enjoy the experience this year.

  3. Maria, almost forgot to comment on this beautiful Xmas Scarf – l first thought it was a table runner! For someone who loves this particular holiday it will make a great present. We find that Christmas has become simply too commercial for our taste, esp the carols being piped through the malls…ughhh…but we do celebrate winter solstice and its ancient significance for so many cultures around the (northern hemisphere) world. It’s exactly a month away and I am looking forward to welcoming back the light, the birth of the sun goddess Yule. But all of this would be much less if it were not shared with the person(s) and animals l love, so in the end it comes down to a celebration of life and love, and that can only be done if you feel free to express it in the way you want to, not dictated by some kind of tradition!

  4. Dear Maria, I feel the way you do about the Holidays. Start dreading them by Halloween, and it is such a waste of energy and life to dread ANYTHING that long. You and Sabina have the right idea, celebrate LIFE. And the scarf is lovely. Annie

  5. I really appreciated what everyone wrote about the holidays. I guess Iam one who does enjoy them, having some friends over and still decorating a tree–although after 55 almost 56 years, we now have a new artificial tree to put up. But I don’t put us under any strain. We left our family in Buffalo, NY and drove to western Oregon in November 1949. There we had no family, did go to church on Sundays. all was quiet. After we got married in 1960, we started an ornament collection, exchanging gifts, had kids, hosted some Christmas open house’s. Friends mean a lot to us and I think we will have friends over for dinner. Tomorrow we go to Bellevue, NE to be with his family and our great and great-great kids. Only done this one other time. Sorry for the long post. It is so wonderful that all of us can enjoy our time in our own way. We are so fortunate. Blessings.

  6. You may enjoy reading Bill McKibben’s tiny gem of a book Hundred Dollar Holiday. It gets into the history of Christmas and how it has changed over the years to fit what society felt a need for. And then it gives ideas on how to make the Christmas season a time for observing what brings you joy.

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