“Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November. All the rest have thirty-one, excepting February alone, and that has twenty-eight days clear, and twenty-nine in each leap year.”
This Mother Goose “Leap Year Poem” I found on Google isn’t exactly how I memorized it many decades ago, but I smile when I use it. The last time was a few minutes ago when I started this article. Yes, this is the last day of November. Thanksgiving is over, tomorrow is December 1st, and I’m in the holiday spirit.
We’re lucky; many creative entrepreneurs in our community have provided us with the most festive holiday shopping options. I have loved the open houses, cookies, and the energy of joy in the cinnamon and peppermint air.
I browse among beautiful gifts and toys, waiting to release shouts of glee on Christmas morning, and smile at the memories.
My Christmas traditions changed with the years.
My mother, four sisters, and I decorated for Christmas as a kid. We looked like a Hallmark movie—I imagine we even had hot chocolate and sugar cookies. Santa came in the night; Christmas morning exceeded expectations and overflowed with giggles and chatter.
The tradition changed when I married, and Santa decided I was an adult. Never again did he show up in the night, fill my stocking with goodies, and leave presents on the chair where I had pinned my oversized plastic sock. Santa deserted me.
Decorating changed over the years too. On the farm, my husband would haul all the boxes of decorations down to the living room from the attic and then leave me alone to decorate. By the time I finished, everyone had been asleep for hours. I had become Santa.
I loved Christmas at the Old Library, but decorating was a massive, several-day project. The dozens of large totes carried to the great room from a storage unit was so daunting that the significant transformation only happened every other year. I put out a few of my favorites on the off-year and bought several poinsettias. During that decade, Santa drove a firetruck. Friends and family grabbed coats, hats, and blankets as Santa escorted us up and down streets while we sang carols and admired the beautifully decorated homes. I was no longer Santa.
This year, it took me under an hour to unpack two totes for just the right twinkle of Christmas. My expectations of myself have changed drastically.
Today, the jolliness of Santa is an energetic feeling in the air. I do much less and, therefore, have time to enjoy people and festivities. Why didn’t I figure that out when I was younger?
Christmas seems to hold random memories, and that is because Christmas creates emotion. We are more likely to remember events that cause our hearts to beat faster.
As we begin the 31 days of December, join me in embracing this blessed season’s past and present magic.
Until the next time: Live while you live.
Jennifer Goble, Ph.D., LPC, is the author of “My Clients…My Teachers,” and the blogger and writer of Rural Women Stories: www.ruralwomenstories.com.
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