“The holly and the ivy, when they are both full grown, of all the trees that are in the woods, the holly bears the crown.” – traditional English carol
Advent is about preparing for the arrival of something wonderful. It is about patiently awaiting renewal. It is about new beginnings. It is about finding joy and beauty in the process.
Crisp, morning walks give me time to reflect about what lies ahead. I wrap myself in warm, memories, and trudge onward. If the dog is with me, I am pulled onward (but her discipline issues can wait for a new blog post.) I am doing my best to put bygone moments in the past, where they belong. It is time to participate in my own, personal advent. It is time to prepare, with eager anticipation, for the coming of a new day… a whole new adventure, a whole new lifestyle.
What has been holding me back? Simple. I suffer from Christmas Syndrome. I am obsessed with stockings and wreaths and candles and fireplaces. I want to bake gingerbread with my grandkids, build a snowman, put marshmallows in my hot chocolate and chop down my own fir tree. I want to sing carols, sip eggnog and wrap gifts that I cannot really afford. I WANT TO LIVE IN A HALLMARK MOVIE, not in a truck.
I love Christmas. Fa-la-la, deck the halls, city sidewalks, etc. I may not have my mantle filled with greenery, or my shrubbery lined with symmetrical lights. I may not have a welcoming candle in every window, or a decorated tree in every room. (Come to think of it, I don’t even have rooms!) No wrapped piles of presents lie hidden under the beds, waiting for Santa to delivery them. Bah Humbug!
Because I’m a fan of the Grinch, however, I know that Christmas cannot be stolen. So, with my RV gently snuggled in its Whoville site, I began my search for a camping Christmas.
I’m a snob. I admit it. I prefer highbrow holidays, with real garland, and tasteful white lights, tartan prints, and silky red ribbon. I want canapes, Crosby crooning, champagne, pate de foie gras, and solo piano music.
Looks like that may not be in the cards this year. So, I have chosen to embrace the colored lights, the inflatable lawn ornaments, a can of Bud, and the strains of Grandma being run over by a reindeer. I vow to shed my pomposity and to be more like George Bailey, running around the campground, yelling “Merry Christmas, inflatable flamingo! Merry Christmas, inflatable Grinch! Merry Christmas, you wonderful old, problematic RV!”
It serves us well to remember that Christmas is also about some other weary travelers, whose accommodations were far more meager than those that we are currently enjoying. I guess it helps to keep it all in perspective. We have warm beds, soft sheets, plenty of food, and there are no cattle lowing inside.
We will miss our traditional Christmas gatherings this year, but our blessings are many, and, if the fates allow, we will make up for it next year.
Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays,
‘Cause no matter how far away you roam,
If you want to be happy in a million ways
For the holidays you can’t beat home, sweet home.