I didn’t feel like decorating for Christmas this year. Usually, I’m gung-ho about it and have our home festive by early December to fully enjoy the season. But this year it just seemed like too much effort. Too much hassle for no visitors to enjoy.
The premier of Ontario told us to stick to our own household for holiday celebrations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Knowing my daughters and their families wouldn’t be able to visit dampened my spirit. Also, being in the midst of painting the living room and dining room didn’t help the situation!
Fortunately, this all changed for the better…
It started when I noticed vibrant poinsettias while I picked up groceries. Our city had just been designated as a Red Zone for COVID restrictions, one zone away from a lockdown. I thought red poinsettias would balance things. I needed the beautiful burst of red colour.
On Facebook, I saw photos of friends’ homes decorated for Christmas. One woman even had five different trees, decorated with ribbons of Buffalo plaid and Buffalo check. It encouraged me to put forth a little effort.
I picked some holly and greenery from the yard and made up two arrangements. I felt a little silly about posting photos of the decor while others had so much more. I knew comparing myself to others wouldn’t do me any good. I decided to just focus on the simple beauty of the arrangements.
I wrote my Christmas cards and started work on some homemade projects as gifts. I can’t disclose as my family reads my blog, ha-ha! But I felt I still did not have the usual Christmas spirit. So, I baked spice cookies! It helped somewhat.
That evening, my hubby, Guy, mentioned Hiatus House (a local shelter for women and children fleeing violence and abuse) was his company’s chosen charity this year. Every employee was to provide a gift as a donation to them.
I clapped my hands and shrieked, “Shopping!”
Guy looked at me and said, “Well, I didn’t think you’d be so excited about it. We’re to buy for either a mom—hygiene items, mostly—or a child.”
I did not hesitate for a moment. I answered, “Mom!”
Guy was surprised as toy shopping would be more enjoyable. I thought supporting a mom was as essential as an airline stewardess applying her own oxygen mask before helping others. The mothers have been through so much and require great strength for the road that lies ahead. They’re the glue holding their new family unit together. Support those moms!
I decided to search my own belongings for duplicates of deodorant, toothpaste, floss, etc. I knew there was a $30 limit. If I could cut costs on the required hygiene products, I could pamper the mom more. I bought cute fuzzy socks (with non-skid soles, as requested) and a pair of wintry socks. I added some vanilla body wash, body lotion and a scrubbie.
I plan to purchase more but as I began to fill the gift bag, I found myself thinking of this unknown recipient. I hoped she’d be pleased to know someone was thinking of her. I wanted her gift to be special and to bring her happiness.
Nelson Mandela said it best: “There can be no greater gift than that of giving one’s time and energy to help others without expecting anything in return.” I would add that the greatest gift you can give someone is support you believe in them. I think I will tuck in one of my fridge magnets, too, just because the woman may need to see the message on it every day. Heck, several times a day, every time the fridge is opened.
And this is how I became full of Christmas spirit once again. Even during—especially, during! —a pandemic, loving one another is the true meaning of Christmas. Goodwill to men . . . and women, everywhere!
I was now able to return to my Christmas decorating with a passion. The first thing I did was decorate The Tin Man, already masked for the pandemic.
Oz never gave The Tin Man anything he didn’t already have, and surely the donated gift didn’t give me the Christmas spirit. But my joyfulness had been quelled by the pandemic and it was now restored. Next, I put out the manger from my childhood and felt peace.
From my bubble to yours, have a very merry Christmas! It’s essential!