Cold Night, Warm Heart
I picked up a present for my Secret Santa person today (I can’t say what it is in case she’s reading this post and although she won’t know I’m “it”, she’ll know this present and wish I was her Secret Santa and if I’m not, she’ll be disappointed that she doesn’t get this very cool present!).
Walking home in the frigid evening, watching all the rush hour traffic along Memorial Drive, I felt a wee bit giddy at the idea of wrapping this little gift. Everyone loves one of these. I got my first one in my stocking years ago as a kid living out in the country. It’s one of the easiest toys to play with. I felt warm and cosy in spite of the cold darkness. Treasured traditions that make me love this time of year filled my heart and head, and grins washed over me. The shopping in secret. Hiding presents, like the black patent leather shoes hidden in the window sill on the stairs landing. Making a little deposit for a family ring for my mom. And sharing with great enthusiasm with my sisters and brothers. BAKING! And sneaking some of the cookies out of the deep freeze (not me though!).
“I’m thinking about years gone by. I’m thinking about Church at midnight” *
Church at midnight. One of my fondest memories involves a rattily tin box of an old milk delivery truck with frosted (because of cold, not because of fancy) interior where we six kids huddled with blankets in the back while Mom and Dad sat up front in the cab. Heading to Midnight Mass, when Midnight Mass was really at midnight, singing with my brother, Silent Night, loving the echo. We sang so beautifully that night as we bounced along the country road to the highway that would lead us to church and hymns and people in their finest finery.
Love the lights so bright and the fun game of taking off my glasses so they twinkle even more!
When I got home tonight, lo and behold, my first two Christmas cards of the season in my mailbox. Hooray for real mail! Christmas cards strung on a long bit of red yarn over the couch.
Some of the traditions I grew up with made their way into new family with my kids and their dad. Melting Moments cookies and Christmas Eve pajamas are two of the top traditions that my daughter and I still keep on (and my son far away across the world carries it on with his new wife).
It’s been years since I’ve had Christmas with my siblings and my parents, and yet I still feel part of the holidays we shared because of the traditions that are so engrained in my heart. As people move in and out of my life, new traditions form with the new friendships.
This weekend, I’ll celebrate a second annual new tradition of Christmas Fancy with some beautiful friends.
I’m so grateful for memories old and memories in the making.
Tapping into heart moments are the most valuable and sustain me through the holidays and beyond! And although sometimes I feel lonesome at this time of year, I feel immense gratitude, warmth and love.
What are some of your favourite traditions that just the thought of them bring a smile to your heart?
*PS The line above is from Brandi Carlisle’s lovely, (but sad) Christmas song “Heartache can Wait.”