There’s no better time than the holidays to live out your childhood scars. I don’t mean this in a bad way. Without the proper emotional regulation and perspective Christmas time tends to be quite the shit-storm filled with highs and slight annoyances. In my early years and right through to my teens I worshiped at the alter that was a holly jolly Christmas. This was slowly and surely tempered by a little bit of reality, which made my perception a whole lot healthier. Rather than expecting the perfect performance of rituals, I came to accept that the days are and should be mainly for celebrating the love you have for your friends and family. To honor that we are so blessed to be together again.
Because I view the holidays this way I assume that I’m allowed to celebrate it even though I’m a Buddhist. Right? If we are celebrating the birth of a teacher, leader and compassionate individual surely he would have wanted everyone to feel that type of joy without judgement. So now that we have that covered, the next few posts are going to center on the rituals and rites of this wonderful season. They will take on the themes of decor, gift-giving, dinner and party planning.
For those of you who don’t know, I am a geographer and a feminist political geographer to be exact. The concepts I study are located in human geography which is a field that theorizes place. Therefore, when it comes to anything I believe that care and consideration to the feel of the space is very important. How do you work with such an abstract concept? You decorate and you decorate well.
I have a weakness for holiday aesthetics and it requires so much will power to not purchase the entire Pottery Barn catalog. Returning to the principle of minimalism though there are just a couple of key items that you need initially: tree and stockings. Garlands for the mantle, mercury glass trees, wreath, throw pillows, bed linens and a rug at the front-door can all come later. So let me tease out the concept of the tree and stocking for you.
Most of my Christmases since arriving to Canada involved celebrating at someone else’s house. Though I’m so grateful for the invitations, being a guest means that the tree was always decorated. Now, that began my obsession with oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree. So can you guess what I did when we moved to Massachusetts? I got a real tree from a nearby farm and decorated it from top to bottom. It was all mine. From many of the lifestyle sites I read there is a method. Apparently the best trees have repetition. So essentially you choose a colour palate and theme, buy several of 3 to 4 ornaments and you’re set. I actually go the sentimental route and all of my ornaments represent certain times, places and people. Though it may not look uniform, it is special to me.
You don’t even want to know how many Christmas stockings I own. Being a guest meant that many years I received my stocking gifts in some sort of bag. Thank you to the lovely individuals who filled them in the first place but apparently things like this mattered to me. Therefore, now I have monogramed red and white velvet stockings with holders that spell out “Noel.” Dream achieved.
Have you ever heard the song “In a sentimental mood” by John Coltrane and Duke Ellington? Every time I hear the slow, sensuous notes I am taken to somewhere hot, lazy and fine. It’s kind of the same with the holidays. Get yourself in the mood by making your indoor winter wonderland. The turkey may overcook and people might be late but it won’t matter when the twinkle lights blink and your red wine goes down nice and easy.