Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Launching into the Christmas season.

It's time to launch the CHRISTMAS boat. The season of buying has begun.  We don't want to be late. Besides, the weather is frightful, and could get worse. If we don't get out and buy now, the streets could be flooded, iced over, detoured, or impassable in some ways.

Something in me wants inspiration, counting on sights, sounds, smells and tastes to  bring the magic back each year. Baking and decorating the house might propell me into action.


Christmas  is a big baggage I carry.

I have this idea that it has to be surprisingly fulfilling;  it has to make everybody’s secret wish come true. Not just any old wish, but the wish we did not know we had, a wish we made out loud only to ourselves, burying it so it did not continue to take up space on the shelf of wishes. If That wish stayed on the shelf, never fulfilled, it would be a sorry reminder, year after year that our lives were not magical, but ordinary and insignificant.

Wishes must be fulfilled at Christmas.

Christmas comes only once, and it is ok to have wishes out of the ordinary, special, expensive. Deep down, our job as parents, wives, sisters,  is to make magic dreams come true. We must become extra-ordinary and whip up that magic wand. Even if our finances are meager.

I assemble many lists to get me started,  the obvious needs and the practical solutions, sweaters, socks, gloves. Only once, we all  wanted gloves, the ones we could stuff in coat pockets and have on hand as we rode up to the mountains for the day, after a snowstorm had powdered the local San Gabriels. None of us remember what we did with those gloves after the first outing. 

Most people I know  buy with confidence, stick to their lists, in and out of the malls, bags full of clothes or toys. Everyone is happy in their families.

What does my husband crave that he doesn't already have or couldn’t purchase himself?  I have paid no attention.

How do people get ahead of the season by buying off season?

I need to discover what everyone wishes. Something in me wants to be a fulfiller of unknown dreams, every year.  I picture that blessed morning, eyes sparkling, voices  squealing, arms bouncing up and down, and then the rush to hug, call, find the giver of that secret wish.

 “Oh Mom, how did you know?”

My husband is a confident shopper. If  he likes something, the children too would like it. “Look, isn’t that fabulous. I am getting that for her!” he says when he shops, and wraps the present without giving it a second thought. .

 I'm never sure.

There were years with pre-lists, years with no lists; years with themes; years with gift certificates; years with cash; years with fruit baskets and special wines.

This Christmas will be different.  I will give away something I love to someone I love. This Christmas my daughter will get my crystal water pitchers and my boys will get my books, the ones I suggested they read, and the ones I have wanted them to read. Isn’t this like forcing my taste on them? After all, they are adult, adult by day and children when they visit each other, stirring the dust of memories of Christmas past all over the living area. Before long, we’ll all remember who got the biggest stuffed animal, and who never wanted the skating lessons.

Yes, this Christmas will be different.

Now, don't hold me to this.

I might get inspired as I prepare the panettone.


potsoc said...

This year, everybody in our family has told what they wanted and some of those presents carried a hefty tag so we bunched those fulfilled wishes to cover several occasions. For instance Alexis birthday (Nov. 23) and Xmas. My son's Xmas and birthday (Jan. 21), and so on.
Of course they will all get their usual Xmas stockings, including our daughters' 3 cats. Our lives would be in danger if they did not their stockings.

lakeviewer said...

Hi Paul. Two of our children and their spouses had salary slashed/and days cut, meaning less cash in their pockets.
We are thinking that gift cards to places like Costco can come in handy for them.
We do the same, bunch presents up. Especially for hubby and me these days. We count our vacations as our birthday/anniversary/Christmas presents.

We are having unusual cold snaps. How is the weather in your neck of the woods?

Are you going somewhere warmer for Christmas?

Cynthia Pittmann said...

Yes,R, Christmas comes with a lot of expectation...but I have gentled my own and just do my best. Do your boys want your books? If not maybe you should give them off season! Take care... and may your Christmas bag be full of joy!

potsoc said...

At 1:18pm EST, it is -4C and snowing heavily since this morning around 8 o'clock. Snow is forecasted until tomorrow morning and over 30cm or one foot is exspected before it ends. 22 km/h winds cause blowing snow. Many schoolboards have closed schools rather than risk buses on slippery roads and poor visibility.
We were to have a retirees Xmas dinner with my former colleagues, in Ste-Thérèse, about 40 miles from Longueuil but it was put off till January. It will be a New Year bash instead.
We are not planning a trip south since our dollar makes it rather expensive and all your fancy border security measures lessens the fun of going south of the border even for a day trip to Plattsburgh. Not worth the hassle.

potsoc said...

By the way, my neck of the woods has a population of 351000 people, just about your Lane county and a bit more than Port Orford, I guess. But I do long for my old Val David, 4000. Québec in all has a population just over 7000000 inhabitants, about double that of Oregon.

Helen said...

Hello there!
I made a list weeks ago and for the most part have stuck with it. BUT, I discovered the Museum of Modern Art has a great website and just ordered the most amazing bowl for my son and daughter-in-law in Atlanta! I also send fruitcakes to my family members who actually enjoy them! From a monastery in Berryville, VA! They make the very best cakes ever!

Brian Miller said...

the list are short this year...we will keep warm with those memories when we are together...and perhaps fulfill a few of those wishes...

RNSANE said...

This year, since I lost my job in February, will be giftless, in terms of something under a tree. The 17th is my oldest son's 39th birthday so I'm hoping to take him and my youngest son out for a nice French meal...if my middle son can join us, it would be nice. That will be birthday and Christmas, rolled into one, some quality time together with good food and wine. Otherwise, there are no recipients of gifts this year! Plain and simple. It's not in the budget.

Sarah Laurence said...

That opening photo looks a lot like Maine, well maybe not today in the snow. Recreational boats are dry docked for the winter and most lobsterman stop fishing at Christmas until June. Just the ferries run.

I angst about the right gift and our finances. My husband is also better with the snap decision. I like the idea of passing on special treasures to one’s children. Good luck with getting everything done!

As for the post below, I once started writing a memoir about moving to Maine as a city girl. Then I got worried about what it would be like living in a small town if it got published. I figured I could get closer to the truth by writing fiction. That became my first work of fiction that led me to my agent but, alas, not a publisher. I’m now hooked on writing fiction and stepping beyond personal experience. I leave the memoir style for my blog and journals.

PurestGreen said...

I know how you feel about buying gifts. I love my boyfriend to bits but I never know what to get him. All of the boy things that he likes, he just buys himself. What's left for me? I always feel like I should be giving something that signifies how I feel for that person. I don't want to just give him practical things. Oh, I'm lost.

Best of luck to you. And to me, too.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

I love the idea of giving much loved possessions to our children...they will value those items because those items were much beloved by YOU!!! And isn't that what Christmas is about? I think a simpler Christmas is a merrier one!! We focus on one another instead of the "shopping." Loved this've inspired me! Love, Janine XO

Tee aka The Diva's Thoughts said...

This year I have a case of the blahs. My family is "different" this year and we are not going to have our usualy get together for Christmas and it's just weird to me so I have a case of the blahs. I'll be glad when Christmas is over this year actually.

Snowbrush said...

Your husband Xmas shops--with enthusiasm, no less? Wow!

Good luck with enjoying it all despite the baggage.

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

This is the first year in a long time that I'm really in the Christmas Spirit. I am usually Mrs. Scrooge. Maybe I went through
" the dream" and just don't remember? Anyhoo, I'm really enjoying the season this year!
Hope you will too! xoxo

Room Service ~ Decorating 101 said...

I think you are the sweetest thing. I love how you feel about Christmas, sadly, I just most the time give $$$. It's easy and they love it. But it does not make for special memories...

Ribbon said...

I think that the gifts that you have mentioned this year sound wonderful ...
and I too love the joy that you are intending to share.

I have not grown up with huge expectations of Christmas, but I do love it.
We don't give or receive large gifts at Christmas time... we give small gifts to a lot of people.

Enjoy all the fun of the spirit of Christmas with love
Ribbon :)

Woman in a Window said...

Rosario, this one is stuck in my throat. It is the desire, is it not, to always grant the biggest wish? But every year? We are unreasonable, even with ourselves, and yet it is a desire, a strong desire, and one in which we might fail at from time to time.

There will be no ulitmate this year. I will sit back and I will watch and I hope I will also learn.

May yours be merry and fulfilling.

Pauline said...

whatever gift you finally give them, wrap it in a love letter and they will remember it always...

Elizabeth Bradley said...

This year out family is only buying for the little ones, everybody made a pact across the board. But that doesn't men there won't be lovely food, music libations, fun games, movies, and good times, which is what it's all about anyway, right? Sounds like you and yours will have a great time.

(I think us women put more thought into presents than most men do.)

Nancy said...

We are going to be in Portland with our family - which is such a wonderful gift. We finally have a child in the family - my grandson, age 2! How fun it that?

Practical gifts this year - tires for my youngest (and a few small things under the tree) and bookshelves already purchased for older daughter and husband. A few books here and there. Nothing big. Just love, laughter, and each other.

I have always been like you - wanting to grant special wishes. It does seem magical that way, doesn't it.

Shadow said...

it sounds like a lot of people are re-looking the way they spend and do christmas this year from what i'm reading in blogland. hope your turns out juuuust right.

Phoenix said...

I loved this post.
"Wishes must be fulfilled at Christmas."
It made me think of my mommy and dad.. and I am soo looking forward to be with them this year.

And you know what.. I think i will be on way to take baby steps towards fulfilling one of my wishes - learn Italian! That was a discovery :)

NitWit1 said...

We each determine how and what any given Chrismas season will be. Sometimes we achieve it; sometimes, despite our best efforts, it fails. I pray yours succeeds, as well as mine.

If I had children I would also give things which mean much to me.

I once had an enviable collection of mortar and pestles, the emblem of my former profession. I offered the choice of them to my family. My brother asked me what a mortar and pestle was! I felt I was a failure if my own brother did not know what a mortar & pestle was....

I kept a few, gave away a few, and disposed of many at a garage sale. So much for my treasures!!!

Loved your post and enjoy differing ideas.

I received a recipe for English Christmas pudding (called the Pud for short in Enland) from a blogger in Great Britain. I thought I might attempt to make it, but ingredients will be had to find==like rose water, a special kind of brown sugar, and good suet.

Reya Mellicker said...

The expectations around Christmas are truly ridiculous. How to unhook from that idea that ALL WISHES MUST BE FULFILLED?

Says who?

May the force be with you, Rosaria! May all your wishes come true.

Word veri: JOYED

Anonymous said...

That is a good idea. Give them the stuff you love.

Gaston Studio said...

I understand the feeling of wanting to give something so special that it'll always be remembered. But I, too, enjoy a simpler Christmas except where the grandkids are concerned. Frankly, I'm trying to talk my grown kids into giving to the needy, instead of to each other, myself included.

enchantedoak said...

I felt strangely like applauding throughout your post...Yes! I feel like that! Yes, that is the good way to think of it! Anyway, I always get sucked up into my expectations of it all, and these past years have been full of pausing to remember that peace on earth, goodwill toward men is the point of the Christmas story, and THAT is what I need to keep in my heart.
You made me laugh out loud with your comment about not knowing what your husband craves. Neither do I. He has few needs and wishes, is so laidback, I have difficulty finding just that one right thing, and so this year, I have given up trying, simply offering him a wife who is not crazed, not crabby, but instead loving and kind. How about that for a gift?

Dave King said...

I wonder what sort of boat this year's will be?

Renee said...

Darling I consider you one of the wishes fulfilled that I never knew I had.

I wonder if your kids know just how truly incredible you are. A woman before her time. You remind me of my mother in that way.

I love this post Rosaria, it is magical.

Love Renee xoxoxo

Renee said...

What is it the kids use to say darling. Takes one to know one.


Kass said...

What a great idea for a blog. I came by your by way of several of your commenters (followers). I have to agree with everyone here. You have a tremendous heart!

Marguerite said...

My family and I will be celebrating the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ. I know what you mean about wanting to make everyone's wishes come true, but it is not always possible. Cie la vie! I think that the books and the crystal water pitcher are great gift ideas. Hang in there, it'll all be over in 2 weeks!!

Journaling Woman said...

We are celebrators of holidays we are. I normally give gift cards to my family and friends so everyone can get what they want and throughout the year I pick up little personal things I know each one will like. Nothing too expensive.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

We are only doing stockings this year. And homemade yummies.

Kikit said...

"I will give away something I love to someone I love."

I love this idea Rosaria. It tells us about the deeper value of giving. I must as well try this one. :)