The holiday season is never far from my mind, mostly
because a big statue of Santa stares into my office window
every day of the year from his perch on the roof of
Government Street’s Christmas Village! But even without
Santa’s holly-jolly stare to prompt me, I’m actually one
of those people who adore the season: the fabulous food
and parties, the sparkling trees on the avenues, pub nights
with friends, bundled-up beach walks, shopping for gifts,
and the delicious anticipation of waiting for Christmas morning.
One of my favourite traditions is decorating our Christmas tree. I like big, fat
Christmas trees that I wrap in garlands of ribbon and fairy lights. Every few years,
I change up the colour scheme (this year, I’m thinking heather-coloured ribbon
garlands and crystal prism bead chains), but my favourite ornaments always have
a secure place on our tree, no matter what the trend.
I can take hours sorting through my ornaments,
thinking of the people in my life. I smile when I
hang the tiny embroidered ornament an auntie
made for my daughter’s first Christmas. I laugh
when I find just the right place on the tree for the
kitschy cactus ornament from my friend Maggie
and the wooden soldier whose leg our dog
chewed off. And I get teary when I sort through
crafts my daughter made (which I refuse to give
up no matter how tattered they become) and the
glass angels from my mom.
By the time it’s decorated, our tree tells a story of our family’s years together.
When the decorating is done, I love to pour a glass of wine, put tunes on, turn off all
the house lights, and just gaze at the glowing tree, thinking back to other Christmases
over the years.
But my holiday season isn’t just about looking back; it’s also about looking ahead,
especially on and after the solstice on December 21, when the days begin to lengthen
again and the light returns. Often, on New Year’s Eve, I forego the noisy parties,
preferring to stay home with a good bottle of wine, thinking about the year to come.
I never make resolutions — that’s just a tad too bureaucratic for me. Instead, I’ll
create a wish board filled with photos and drawings of things I’d like to see in my life
in the coming year. Some of these pictures might be as trivial as an amazing pair of
shoes I want; others are life-changing wishes: health and fitness milestones, journeys
I want to take, goals I want to accomplish, where I want to live.
I’ve kept some of the wish boards I’ve created over the years, and it’s fascinating to
look back and see how many of those wishes came true. And today, as I write while
looking at the Santa statue on the rooftop across the street, I’m reminded that creating
my wish board is not much different than sitting on Santa’s knee as a child, telling him
which toy I wanted. We all need something to wish upon.
So I wish you all a wonderful holiday season with as much chocolate as you want,
as many parties as you need — and a new year filled with promise.
By Kerry Slavens
E-mail me at kslavens
YAM is on Facebook and tweets
By the time it’s
tree tells a story
of our family’s