My semester finished up today. Classes officially finished yesterday, with final grades due in today. Just in time, too. The weather has turned bitterly cold (we simply do not do "wind chill of 12 degrees" here in upper Dixie) and Old Man Winter has even lacked the decency to snow. (Technically, I guess it's still "Old Man Fall" until the 21st, but whatever.)
For me, the end of a semester is always a little melancholy but that passes quickly with the looming holiday season. There is still much, much to do - some gift buying remains, plenty of wrapping, cards need to be written (I like that tradition, even if the cards don't contain lengthy messages, so I try to keep it up), and other assorted tasks. FryDaddy and I try to not take things too seriously - we're not Martha Stewart and really - we're fine with that. In fact, I'll let you in part of our secret. Ready?
We moved Christmas.
Yep. We celebrate early. Make sure supplies are laid in (including a boatload of Christmas movies), take the phone off the hook, and turn the area under the tree into a veritable wasteland of crumpled paper several days before the "official" calendar date. So very much easier and less stressful. We've found that it allows us to enjoy "actual" Christmas much, much more.
It might not work for everyone, but everyone doesn't live here.
Also, I'm discovering that I have a dark streak when it comes to Christmas music. Don't misunderstand me, I loves me some Messiah and I even can stand "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" (among other Christmas staples), but I really like the lonely ones. It could be the Irish in me - a people of whom Chesterton said, ". . . are the men that God made mad, for all their wars are merry/And their songs are sad." But I actually like "Fairytale of New York" and the incomparable John Prine's "Christmas in Prison." I think that stands to reason. The poor and the forgotten are with us always and yes, that includes the hale and hearty holidays.
Don't forget them, please. There are children who go without presents and parents who worry (I mean really worry) about the rent. There are the lonely who would like a warm pair of gloves and there are the lost who would like to know that, even if it's just for a single day out of the whole stinkin' year, the world doesn't just rush obliviously past them.
Christmas is for all of us. So please - take a box of old clothes to Goodwill. Drop a five in the red Sally Army kettle. Buy an extra toy while you're shopping and drop it off with those sharp-dressed Marines manning the "Toys for Tots" display. Gracious, just write a check to your local Empty Stocking Fund.
Christmas is for miracles. Go be somebody's.