A month from now, we will be traveling, gathering, eating, and drinking. There will be laughter and hugs, boxes and bows, lots of presents and lots of leftovers. Christmas is wonderful, happy, and hectic. The kids have goaded me into putting the tree up already, although I am firmly holding off flipping the switch and lighting things up until after Thanksgiving. The annual decorations are being unboxed, along with the memories they contain.... the school-made doughy ornaments, the photos with Santa that go back thirty years, the music box and snow globes; each one with it's own story that brings a smile, a sigh, or a tear or two as I carefully place them in just the right spot. We are bubbling with Holiday Spirit.
I am conflicted this season. The financial crisis is overwhelming. I'm scared. I have watched my 401 shrink to a 201, and my hopes of retirement this coming year shrivel along with it. Oh, well, I love my work.... good thing, I'll be workin' for a while longer!! The real plus is that I HAVE a job. Some folks are in bad shape, and Christmas is coming.... Thus, my conflict; sort of survivor guilt. So, as I unwrap my memories, and wrap the traditional socks and underwear and slippers and shirts; my heart is with those that may not be able to have this joy.
At the office, we have decided to adopt a couple of local families instead of our gift exchange. In contacting an elementary school in the Valley near the office, we were told that there were forty families in that school that could use a visit from Santa. So, we are going to take on three and do right for them, just like St. Nick would..... So, I brought the idea home, and we are going to do something similar here. The kids , our care providers, Jim and I will forgo our annual gift exchange, and take the money and energy we would spend on ourselves, and try to make a local family's Christmas actually happen. We are really excited about it. The kids can shop for kids that really need the socks and undies, and I am going to find a special snow globe for Mom that can be unwrapped each year, with a smile and a tear and the memories of this Christmas.