We did go out and shop yesterday. Mark wanted to get out of the house. And we did get the teensiest bit of holiday shopping done. Trying not to get stressed out by it. It isn't the shopping that gets to me so much as the worthlessness. We seem to get the same stuff for people year after year and it is hard to get excited by it all. Our kids have so many possessions that it is an effort to buy for them. They don't even know what to want, and in order to store it, they have to have a big purge every year right before they get new gear.
It sounds terrible, but I'd just like to cancel it some year and take a breather on a warm beach or a cabin in the woods with just Mark and the kids. I could do the world more good by peaceful meditation and journaling. Observe the natural world--the solstice. Breathe with the darkness. Watch the sunrise. Chant something. Beat drums. Welcome the light. Offer gratitude. Listen to my daughter play sax. Play games. Sit by a fire (or by the surf, depending on where we were). Maybe we'd perform some sort of community service before we left. Something as a family to give back to the larger world. It seems so simple--doesn't it? Why do we allow ourselves to get carried away by tradition and commercialism?
Today I am thankful for the traditions that do have meaning to me. The solstice service at church. Our tree. It is decorated with ornaments that commemorate memories--places we've been, stages of childhood, our pets. I do enjoy holiday music--all kinds and all traditions. And hearing from faraway friends. I especially like the photographs and long juicy letters that tell what every body's been doing over the course of their year. And I enjoy the fresh start that a new year affords us. A great time to ponder life's mysteries.