Last week, I almost wrote a post about not feeling the Christmas Spirit, but thought better of it and wrote An Ode to the Library. Who wants to open a blog a week before Christmas and read about how someone just can’t find the feeling? I spared you.
I decided, instead, to take measures to fix the finding of the feeling problem and then write about it.
This Is Christmas
It’s all about expectations.
In this latest iteration of my life, the Christmas Spirit, for me, peaks when every single bed of our Indiana home is filled with our adult kids and their families, and it’s “Christmas Morning.” Years ago, we came to the conclusion that the magic is no greater on December 25th than it is on, say, a random weekend in November, thus was born the holiday we celebrate: Thanksmas.
The “kids” are still asleep and BF and I are pulling shopping bags out of my closet filling stockings, one by one, whispering as we go.
Egg casseroles are ready to go in the oven and fruit salad and coffee cake are on the counter. Most importantly, the annual scavenger hunt clues, which BF and I have been penning for days, are hidden. The hunt has a central theme and will lead from bookshelves to a car trunk, and then maybe to BF’s office, then neighbor’s houses, and eventually, their main gift.
One by one, the kids make their way to the Nespresso machine or the tea pot, grab a cup of fruit and yogurt, and the games begin.
This is Christmas.
Cross-country relocations. Babies. Extra college degrees. Careers in the making. Covid.
We’re planning our Thanksmas here this year, the first weekend in January, but the planning has felt more like a game of Jenga than Holiday preparations. Change doesn’t come easy. I’ll keep you posted.
I said to BF last week that I couldn’t remember the last time I felt the Christmas Spirit, and I shocked myself a little. It made me ponder.
Here I am over a thousand miles from home, haven’t decorated a tree or cookie for at least two years. Nor have I attended my annual girlfriend Christmas gathering or my neighborhood cookie exchange extravaganza.
So, where do I capture this elusive Holiday Spirit?
A Stage Play Designed for Children . . . And Their Nanas
This week, Adi and I got all dolled up and went to Arizona Broadway Theatre’s production of Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas, a play based upon the book by the same name. It was there I found the magic I was missing. Watching my four-year-old granddaughter’s rapt attention–for forty-five solid minutes, mind you–to her first theater experience, while the actors masterfully presented a convincing story about how the spirit of Christmas is the love in our hearts, rather than anything we can buy at the mall.
There were gorgeously decorated trees aplenty. Hot chocolate and decorated cookies for sale. Tons of colorful lighting. But it was the experience I shared with Adi. The giving. The love I felt in my heart as I snuck peeks at her taking it all in.
As we walked out the heavy, glass doors of the theater, she slipped her little hand in mine, hopping while walking the way she does, and said, “Nana, I want to come back here.”
I promised her we would.
And then I asked her if she’d like to go out to lunch, and she said, “No. I want to go to your house.”
By “your house” she means the rented condo, a four-hour flight from my real house, where she will visit me on Christmas Day and her aunts and uncles and Chicago cousin will all gather a week later. Where we might take a swim or have a family pickleball game and have lots of carry-in food.
And maybe, decorate a few cookies.
Oh, and one more thing. Want to venture a guess on the theme for this year’s Scavenger Hunt?