Thinking on Christmas

[Note: The pictures in my blog today are from the Atlanta Botanical Gardens and were mostly taken by my daughter’s boyfriend.  He graciously shared them with me as I didn’t take my camera with the night we went to see the lights.]

My daughter and her boyfriend.
My daughter and her boyfriend.

Pam, over at Sterling Sop, recently posted “10 Things. . . I Love About Christmas“.  Of course, that got me to thinking and making my own list of what I love about Christmas.  I thought it would cheer me up as I’m not getting much into the spirit of Christmas for the usual reasons – too tired, too busy, can’t just relax and enjoy it.  It’s one more thing that needs to be done.

So I made my list, looked at it, and realized that most of what was on there were things I used to like about Christmas.  That made me even crabbier yet.

So I put it away as I contemplated the illogic of not letting go of things that no longer made the holidays pleasurable.  I mean come on, I couldn’t replace it with something else?  Tradition is a great thing until it no longer is.  As life has changed, so have the traditions.

The day eventually came when we no longer went to Grandma & Grandpa’s for the holidays.  In time, we no longer went to my Mom’s or in-laws for the holidays.  Now we go to our daughter’s house for the holidays.  Those are changes in the natural course of growing up, starting our own family, and becoming empty nesters.

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I no longer put up a tree, but a few simple decorations.  My daughter though, my daughter puts up a beautiful tree and decorations, which I get to enjoy each and every year at her house.

I don’t make cookies any more either.  Too many calories.  Christmas music?  Yawn.  It’s been a long time since any good new Christmas songs have out.  All I hear is mostly reruns of the same songs.

The lights blinked and changed colors in tempo with the music.
The lights blinked and changed colors in tempo with the music.

A few days later, I pulled out the list and looked at it again.  Ya’ know, it didn’t look so bad.  Maybe it was getting a few nights sleep.  Maybe it was the realization that I did the holiday night lights at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, followed by the holiday decorations at Colonial Williamsburg, and lastly, the night lights at my own local botanical gardens.  Hellooooo there. . . how much do you think you need to do to get in the holiday spirit?  I think there’s a little too much moping and not enough gratitude for the here and now.

Our daughter, my favorite boy toy and me.

So my mood is much improved.  I’m enjoying the Christmas music I’m listening to as I wear my ear buds at work and stare at all the numbers on a spreadsheet, analyzing data needed for year end close in a few weeks.  The department next to ours put a plate of homemade oatmeal cookies – yum, yum.  I don’t need a bag of them in the freezer – it was nice to have one and leave it at that.

So what else was on my list that I still enjoy?  The magic of Christmas Eve, when everything slows down and we turn to each other.  Advent, Advent calendars, and Bible devotions around Jesus birth.  Family and laughter, giving gifts that people want, and receiving newsletters from family and old friends.  There’s plenty there for me that’s within the limits of my time and energy.  I’m enjoying December now and am happy for that.

See Atlanta's skyline in the back?
See Atlanta’s skyline in the back?

Here’s a video for you to enjoy as this group of young men, Straight No Chaser, do their rendition of the Twleve Days of Christmas.  It’s funny and not at all boring, no matter how it looks the first few seconds.  Someone mixed up their music for sure!

They also did a Christmas can-can, giving a hilarious commentary on Christmas commercialism, Christmas decorations and songs starting in October and other such things.  It’s also worth a watch!

They also sing regular Christmas songs and their beautiful voices are wonderful listening.


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I am a backyard adventurer, philosopher and observer, recording my life in journals and photographs. Visit my blog at

15 Comments Leave a comment

    • You should go out and enjoy the lights! Several of our neighbors have done a great job of decorating and I love taking a few minutes each night to drive to the other end of our subdivision and enjoy them.

  1. I felt a bit the same . . . as if the MAGIC had disappeared as my nieces and nephews morphed from tots to teens. But I started to find new MAGIC. Aah . . . that’s better.

    Lovely photos of you, your family, and the gardens.

    • I’ve been struggling with Christmas for quite a few years now, I think mostlu because it’s such a high stress period at work and I just can’t do anywhere near what I’d like to enjoy the holidays. That’s part of why I worked on my reasons more this year. I think just accepting that this is how it’s going to be is helping.

      I’m glad you liked the photos. I really loved the one of our daughter with her boyfriend. My husband took that with her boyfriend’s camera and he really did a nice job with it. Now if they only stay together. . .

    • I’m glad you liked it – actually, I was surprised to even hear from you. I would think this is incredibly for busy at this time of the year with families on the move. Thanks for the compliments!

  2. What a beautiful family!! I hope all of you have a happy and healthy Christmas :). I get stressed out easily, so I find it hard to get into the spirit until my shopping, wrapping, and decorating is done. So, I try and get it done early, so that I can sit back and enjoy :). Loved the Christmas Can-Can by the way – it started my day out with laughter! Thank you.

    • I’m glad I could make you laugh! That made it worth stopping by my blog, didn’t it?

      For me, it’s not stress as much as just fatigue between work and now an extra requirement on my time. I have things – and it’s a minimal list too – that I’d like to do to enjoy the holidays more and I can’t even get that done. I can’t afford to short my sleep either, with all the stress at work and the need to be on top of my game. My stuff got handed off to the auditors this morning and they were pretty happy. I, of course, couldn’t get anything done the rest of the day I was so relieved to be done.

      I really liked that photo of my daughter and her boyfriend – I’m glad my husband did such a good job of taking it. I have to remember to ask her boyfriend if he sent it to his Mom :)

      • It is a lovely photo!! I agree with you on the sleep issue – I’m just useless if I don’t get enough sleep. It’s just not worth staying up late to get things done because then I pay for it the next day, and so does everyone else in my house LOL!! I’m glad you got your big job done at work, and I really hope you have a wonnderful Christmas with your family :).

        • I saw a great article recently on Fast Company about two presentations given recently at a company. One by a guy who got it done and then relaxed over the weekend and got enough sleep. The other was a young woman who obsessed and tweaked all weekend and worried to no end. Unfortunately, she was unable to impress anyone with what she did.

          I’ve learned the hard way that it’s better for me to leave stuff undone and be in a good mood than to short my sleep getting it done, being miserable and making everyone else miserable. Several years ago, one of the young woman was taking a day off and had her plans fall through at last minute. I advised her to take the day anyhow, get some errands done, take a nap and then enjoy her young son for the night. At first she didn’t want to, but wanted to spend the day with him. When I pointed out that she’d have much more fun if she wasn’t stressed and sleep deprived, she saw my point and went on to have a wonderful evening with her toddler after spending the day getting her stuff done.

          Thanks for the warm wishes – we will have a good time. You enjoy your holidays also!

    • I really think we are. I reread your blog several times as I worked on mine to remind myself that if you could do it, so could I. I also wanted to be sure to not repeat what you had since we have several subscribers in common.

      I’ve gotten a few things done – didn’t decorate, but that’s okay – would still like to writ a holiday letter though. Maybe I will next week. I’ve cut so much from Christmas, I’d really like to not cut more, but I don’t see that happening until I retire. It’s just too stressful at work during December. Each and every year. This year, I had two VP’s complain of the same to me, which was a first.

      I’m glad you liked the videos. I loved the Maccabeats too. The battle was a hoot and I loved the dreidels reflecting on the table. After it finished, their next Hanakkuah video came up, “Shine”. It wasn’t silly, but was really good. I love their voices!

      • I’m glad you enjoyed the Macabeats. I also viewed “Shine” I am happy to have discovered them. I didn’t decorate either, just added holly to some tulips and found a tiny white tree to put on the dining room table. With the Christmas cards around it actually seem enough. I did do a Christmas newsletter. I took so much time off with my ankle that I will be one of the few staff working between Christmas and New Years. It wil be OK.

        • That’s the best statement I’ve heard – it will be okay. It definitely will be. The alternative is to be miserable and that sucks too much. I’m glad we both got to a place of peace of how the holidays are this year.

          You are such a good friend – wish I could give you a big hug.

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