All Signs Point to Christmas

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“You’ve got a lot of choices.  If getting out of bed in the morning is a chore and you’re not smiling on a regular basis, try another choice.”—Steven D. Woodhull.

Only once in my whole life has this happened.  This will be the second.  This year, I am spending Christmas without my family.

Unlike some folks, for whom Christmas is a time of stress, anxiety and incessant cheek pinching by drunk Uncle Joe; or a time when no matter how old you are, the family hierarchies still manage to impose themselves on the group dynamic and somehow you revert back to your role of sulking, surly teenager.  And though this is a reality for some, for me, my family shines at Christmas.

I mean, if you sympathize with the Grinch in any way, you may not want to continue reading.  Because my family is so gosh-darned-cute at Christmas, that it might make you gag.

For one, we actually like each other.  And not just in a “tolerate” kind of way.  We genuinely enjoy each others’ company, and for most of the year, do not get enough of it.  For us, Christmas isn’t about the gifts or sweet-baby-jesus, but instead it’s about preparing meals together, cocktail hour that sometimes starts before 5 o’clock and then lends itself to wine and loud, raucous games, and perhaps, karaoke on ice skates.  We take long walks together, and snuggle on the couch doing puzzles.  And we drink more wine, and then sigh in satisfaction with how simple and lucky we are.  It’s about catching up, daily hugs and making each other laugh.  It’s about the ability to be as real as you wanna be, without judgment or repercussion.  Farts are a given.  And last years’ dinner-table dessert word was boococky.  (See, told you might gag.)

So, when I made the decision to stay in Montreal this year, I forgot how special of a time this is for my family.  Not wanting to fly during such a chaotic time of year, combined with the fact that as a yoga instructor, you don’t get paid if you don’t work, I decided to stay in the city and teach.  And truth be told, I’ve never experienced a Montreal Christmas, so I figured now’s the time.

But I’m not gonna lie, I had a day last week when both roommates left for home, I called my mom crying wondering if I was really going to be okay.  A pity-party for one.  And I started visualizing the scene out of Bridget Jones’ Diary, except substitute Celine Dion lyrics for Barbara Streisands’, “Jingle Bells?” (do yourself a favor and please listen to that song).  Insert excessive bottles of wine and one confused border collie cowering underneath the Christmas tree and you might have an idea of where my imagination went off to.

Until I realized that it all comes down to choice.  I made the choice to stay here.  And to be quite honest, this apartment seems like it was born with Christmas on the opposite end of the umbilical cord.   Baby, it’s cold outside.  There’s no dreaming of a White Christmas here cause in Montreal, it just…..always is.  There’s a record player and a faux fireplace and a rockin-‘round-Christmas-Tree and even, a puzzle.

The choice I made was because I believe in serendipity.  I believe there’s magic in making the most of it.  And to be honest, with the amount of photo text messages that have been passed back and forth between me and my family in just the last few days, I feel like I barely even missed it.

I set the stage for Christmas.  For who really knows what Santa could be bringing down the faux-chimney???

Wishing you the happiest, Happy Holidays.

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