All that Glitters

The holiday season is in full swing. Things really take on the festive vibe when the temperatures drop and we get a sugary coating of snow. And since it gets dark so early (feels like midnight at 5pm!) we are mesmerized by twinkling lights and candles. Funny how in July you would never consider curling up under cozy blankets with Christmas movies at supper time. Our internal clocks play tricks on us and we succumb to a form of hibernation.

It’s hard to (especially these days with no social activities) motivate yourself you leave the cocoon of comfort. It’s very appealing to snuggle into a comfortable position on the couch and get swept away by Hallmark on demand. However, as I marinate in candlelight and coziness, my mind wants to race with a blurring flurry of to do lists. As the ticker tape reel of chores and details whirs I suddenly stop in mid buzz: I’m not going to be with my family this Christmas for the first time in my life!

This year we are heading south before Christmas. We will be in Florida on December 24. I’m not sure how I really feel about that. Of course in the scheme of pure logic it makes perfect sense: better driving conditions, less packing and unpacking, longer rental periods, more outdoor activities sooner … there’s a lot on the positive side. The negatives are glaring. And that’s the overwhelming impact that jars me out of holiday bliss.

I remind myself that people spend holidays apart from family all the time. My brothers been doing it for years. My husband too. I think men are far more likely to make the concessions in these matters. As well, it’s just a date on the calendar (I tell myself) and we can improvise. Which we plan to do on the weekend. American Thanksgiving is the new Christmas for our small family unit.

In order to keep some traditional semblance, my sister is executing her annual cookie baking extravaganza. This includes putting up a tree and decorating, baking holiday cookies in German style and firing up the mulled wine.

So this year we are crashing that tradition and turning it into full blown Christmas dinner. And we make our exit dash to Florida on December 10. Rudy tries to inject a bit of comic relief into the emotional mix. He watches Christmas movies with his Santa hat on and every time they show (fake) snowy scenes he reminds me that the actors are really sweating. He’s convinced that all holiday movies are filmed in Celebration Florida.

When we were there before Christmas a few years ago (checking out our first winter rental as newbie snowbirds) we walked through the town of Celebration and marvelled at skating and snow in our shorts. It was exhilarating in a weird way. It occurs to me that no matter where you are, Christmasy thoughts include snow.

So for this year we will be channeling thoughts of snow and ice as we lounge poolside with our eggnog. The only icy cold in sight is the cube in our drinks. I’m making lists of holiday sights to see and do in Florida. Rudy has no idea. I can’t wait to see some of the light installations! I’m a total sucker for magical Christmas decorations. Each year we bundle up and make a “special” drink then take a drive around neighbourhoods to see the lights. We’ve been mostly Ho hum about the efforts but I have a feeling that people have more time at home this year and so putting in the time will result in Wow!

Lesson from the dog: be grateful for everyday and the people in it. Spread joy and kindness. Never miss the opportunity for a good nap.

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