So, I’ve been kind of bummed lately, and it took me a while to figure out why.

Usually, I love Christmas. It’s been my favorite holiday for as long as I can remember.

But this year I haven’t been feeling it.

It could be because this is the first year I haven’t gone “home” for Christmas. I wondered if perhaps I’m just nostalgic for those Christmases going over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house. Or whether I’m just sad that I won’t get to see my sister for Christmas. Or that I have to work Christmas Eve and this is the first year I haven’t had at least two weeks off for Christmas ever.

It could easily be a combination of those things.

But I also realized that one of the joys of the Christmas season for me is all the ritualistic aspects tied to the holiday. I grew up in the church, so there was always Advent and decorating the fellowship hall and the Christmas cantata. Then there’s decorating the tree, baking cookies, singing carols, wrapping presents, sitting around together Christmas morning-ish opening the presents and eating Christmas cookies for breakfast still in your flannel pajama pants (I grew up in the North, remember)…

The list could go on and on.

I also like the story of Christmas – messages of love and peace and being kind to your fellow man.

I mean, I believed in Santa Claus until I was twelve.

And not the “sees you when you’re sleeping” Santa.

But the kind, jolly old man who likes to eat too many cookies and make children happy.

I still believe in the spirit of Santa Claus, which I think is also the spirit of Jesus even though I consider myself agnostic now.

Peace on Earth, Good will towards Men.

That’s what Christmas is to me.

A time to refocus on what’s important – honoring those you love and extending that love outward to all. Taking the time to be kind and generous.

I miss my Grandma Julie a lot around Christmas especially because she is one of those people who really embodied that Christmas spirit all the year.

Putting up some lights in the apartment and baking cookies with my roommate to share is helping.

Holidays and rituals exist for a reason. They are meaningful, even if that meaning isn’t the same to everyone or shifts over time.

I think whatever pull toward ritual is in me is also part of my love of storytelling and drama.

A lot of drama is about searching for meaning in existence and trying to understand what there is worthwhile about humanity.

Those are important questions.

And Christmas reminds me of them.

So I’m going to get some yarn and string up the crochet Christmas ornaments my mother made for me several years ago, and that are the same kind of ornaments that were always on our tree and Grandma Julie’s tree growing up.

Because it’s important to remember and honor the moments and acts of love in our lives.

Especially in times of darkness when our way is lost, twinkle lights can brighten the way and remind us that Spring will be here soon enough, and that this, too, shall pass.

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