Sunday, November 30, 2014

“Tradition? Or Rut?”

            My goal to slow down and analyze the reasons behind my actions shifted beyond focusing on my housework habits and led me to scrutinizing my holiday traditions. When September marches onto the calendar, I haul out a few fall decorations. Halloween means I adorn shelves with bats and witches, and I follow with scarecrows and gourds for Thanksgiving.
Today's project
The first week of December, I pack away all my russets, gold and gingers in favor of Christmas sparkles. I spend day after day unloading bins of festive décor and finding the perfect arrangement for a cluster of Santas or a herd of reindeer. Then, I tackle the tree. Most of our ornaments reside during the rest of the year in their original boxes. Removing them takes time and effort, and replacing them once the holiday season is behind us takes its own day—even if I recruit help from my husband and son. And although my family appreciates my passion to festoon garlands throughout the house, they mention it’s a ton of work that has to be “undone” within a month.
              A month ago, an unexpected freeze meant I didn’t have time to go outside and cover plants. Instead, I hauled them all inside, arranging them next to the living room window—the spot where our Christmas tree traditionally sits. I commented that I loved the greenery, but would need to lug everything back outside and rig my winter “greenhouse” once December arrived.
Hmmm . . . how do I make this into holiday décor?
            “Why?” asked my son.
            And I thought before replying. For several days I let that question linger and swirl around. Why should I relocate all of these plants to put in an artificial tree? Why should I spend days adorning it with ornaments, and then days taking it down again?
            I questioned, “Is this tradition?  Or am I in a rut?”
            For me, the decision to skip putting up the tree is huge—but when I opened my mind to other possibilities, I almost exploded with ideas. Within the cluster of green, I’ll snuggle in poinsettias and colorful bows. I’ll pick up more live plants—little pines and rosemary!
            Yesterday, my son commented, “You know, you’ve been using the same stuff for years. And I know you like all the memories that different things hold, but maybe this year you could start a new bin—with decorations that are different from everything you already have.”
Just the beginning!
            My eyes sparkled, my pulse kicked up a little, my brain zigzagged with possibilities. New decorations? And I know I won’t go out and buy something all from one place. Instead, I’ll start with a few new items and spend the entire month “growing” into the different holiday trimmings. The rush to adorn our home with gingerbread men and snowmen shifted immediately to a desire to slow down to savor creating a fresh look for the house.
Copyright 2014 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

No comments:

Post a Comment