Friday, November 27, 2009

At Your Own Pace

Flatirons by Moonlight

You couldn't pay me to go mall-crawling today. For one thing, I'm not all that fond of crowds and for another, Christmas shopping requires a lot of planning, as far as I'm concerned. I need to wander without feeling an obligation to commit myself and allow the ambiance of Christmas music, lights, children, and hopefully, snow, to bathe me in the spirit of the Season. For the most part, this process requires time which is why Black Friday doesn't work for me.

If you're task-oriented and thrive on efficiency like the Head Elf Bernard from The Santa Clause, this might be your day. I'm all for that when it comes to my grocery list or packing for a trip, but whenever possible, I want Christmas to last, which explains why you're likely to see my tree still decorated in mid-January. One year, when I was about 12, we took the tree down, placed it in my room in a bucket of water and sand, and by golly, the thing budded by the end of February. We couldn't plant it, of course, but we loved having it around.

Besides, even though the radio stations have begun their annual marathons of Christmas music, it's still Thanksgiving weekend. There are left-overs to munch and more pies to bake, combined with the gentle sense that life is good. It's a great preparation for all the wonderful things that have been waiting throughout the year to make an appearance. If we were in Boulder, this afternoon we'd gather downtown at sunset for the annual lighting of the Christmas star on the side of Flagstaff Mountain. It's a community affair with children's choirs, hot chocolate, and together, we all count down to the magic moment they throw the switch.

It's too easy to become wrapped up (no pun intended) in all the details, expense, and stress, reducing the Holidays to a month-long pressure cooker. When we decide to take them at our own pace, doing what feels comfortable day by day, we have a chance to look around and see why our children love this time of year. It allows us to be a little freer, happier, more loving, and more at peace. Not a store in town stocks these kinds of things; instead, they come from within. And thankfully, they aren't that hard to find -- all it takes is a little time.

Note to reader: If you'd like to see the Boulder Star, visit the following website and click on Boulder web cams. The image with the widest view is from the University of Colorado and you should see the star in the lower right corner after about 5:00 PM Mountain Standard Time:

(Image of Boulder Flatirons in Moonlight by Molas via Flickr)

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