Holiday spirit

As adults it can be difficult to get into the holiday spirit. There are a lot of other demands than lighting a Christmas tree. And sometimes it’s just a side errand to pick up a box of this year’s holiday cards, knowing that sometime in the very near future one will have to sit down and get through them. All of them. And that’s time taken away from any of those other demands on our time. Oh yeah. There’s also Christmas shopping.

It can also be difficult to feel the holiday spirit walking the streets of downtown DC. I don’t mean the scenery (because that will definitely get me in the spirit!), but dodging the cars that on occasion have little regard for the pedestrians, even if it is my right of way, or trying to get past a large group of people because I need to get to the store for holiday shopping, or the tourists standing on the left on the escalators that I’m trying to climb. Or – well, you get the idea.

But the holiday season is not a chore. Last weekend, when I found it difficult to get in the spirit for some of those reasons lifted above, I skipped forward to some Christmas lounge music on my iPod (yes, it does exist) and stopped at a Starbucks for a red cup and a peppermint mocha. And told myself to just breathe. It is the most wonderful time of the year for a variety of reasons.

Everything seems a little more still, a little more calm, with sparkling lights, red bows and green garland around building entrances. Office buildings set up Christmas trees in the lobbies and windows. Downtown raises lit snowflakes on street lamps and of course there is Santa and his kangaroos at the Australian Embassy.

It will sound a cliché, but only because it’s true. But the holidays are magical. And maybe that sense of magic diminishes a little as we get older, but it doesn’t have to disappear altogether. With all of the other demands on our time, stringing up Christmas lights or baking snowflake shaped cookies is just one more thing to do on an already too-short day. But you know what? Once the lights are up, the Christmas music on and the kitchen smelling with freshly baked chocolate chip cookies…it will be more than worth it.

Take a few minutes to really look at the lights and just enjoy the moment. The holidays only come once a year, and I know I spend the other eleven months just waiting for this cozy, warm time of year. So I’m going to enjoy this last month for all its worth, and to carry me through the next eleven.


Patricia returned to Texas after spending several years on both coasts. She's a writer, amateur photographer and traveler.

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