Sunday, December 20, 2020

Christmas Reimagined

I recently heard a political diatribe claiming that some political leaders were trying to cancel Christmas. And it ticked me off because Christmas isn't something you cancel. It can't be canceled -- for those who celebrate the holiday, it is there every year in December. It's not crossed off the calendar because of weather or tragedy or pandemic. It is Christmas. It is there. We may not be able to gather as usual and celebrations may change, but not Christmas.


One of the first Christmas cards I received was from my artist friend, Jane. On the back of the card she had created, she wrote, "Christmas isn't canceled. It is re-imagined."

Exactly. 

It seems I have read or heard two different takes on the holidays. One is: "No one is coming to my house. I'm not going to decorate or bake much, I'm really cutting back."

The other is: "We Need a Little Christmas, right this very minute!" to borrow some song lyrics from "Mame." 


That's my philosophy and the reason why there's always time for another tree, another treat, the Christmas dishes, something special. 

That, and the fact that if this were to be my last Christmas on Earth, I desperately need lights and color this year, along with giving and music, sparkles everywhere! 

Re-imagining Family Gatherings:  We didn't plan to celebrate Christmas without the Toddlers and company, or without good friends but this year it's a must. So we are trying to reimagine ways that we can still celebrate. Maybe on Facetime, like so many of you. Maybe with a short gathering outside while (if) they are enroute elsewhere.  Maybe we'll wait a month or two till virus rates ease up in our state and have a belated Christmas. (After it became difficult for my dad to travel and my Cleveland cousins had families too large to travel north, we would meet halfway in Toledo sometime in February, get a big room and celebrate. It's the people. Not the day.)


Zoom events are one way of reimagining Christmas. And we're getting pretty good at those. I have a wonderful group of friends who met last week online to share their upcoming Christmas plans and toast the season. You've probably done that, too.

We have friends whose family holiday celebration always includes a traditional Polish soup recipe -- a must have! And a hearty bourbon punch. This year they are making the soup and leaving it at the doorsteps of those who would be at the gathering. Then they'll zoom as they all share soup. They are also leaving behind a kit for their traditional "bourbon punch," so that tradition can continue.

Re-imagine giving: Not having parties to plan means that maybe we have a little more time to reimagine some of the things we might like to do at the holidays. Give baked goods to a neighbor you've never shared with before, or a Secret Santa surprise to someone -- even a stranger. 


With a couple of friends, we are taking a break from presents this year and instead planning a long call or a Zoom. In all honesty, I would much rather have the gift of time, someday a long lunch out or extra nice dinner out instead of presents. "Stuff" I have. Time together is precious.

Make a gift to your community, through donations to a food bank drive or another charity. Or, hang ornaments at an arboretum or a walking route, a gift of beauty to fellow walkers.

Re-imagining Christmas Eve Church: If you are missing the services at church on Christmas Eve, plan a quiet time at home where you can read your favorite passages and sing or listen to carols. Share the readings with each other. Share your Christmas prayers. Remember -- it isn't the pew in which your body sits that makes worship happen; it's the place where your heart sits.


Re-Imagining the Parties: For 20 years, we've celebrated holidays with our friends Mark and Jan using our Christmas song theme. This year it will either be by Zoom or in their barn with air blowing through. Neither of us are shopping but we'll find a way to incorporate our song theme -- maybe with food, maybe with trivia, but with fun. And hopefully in person. Apart but together.


My physically vulnerable cousin and her husband built a Covid room in her basement, subdividing it with tightly drawn, floor-to-ceiling clear plastic sheets so that as winter drew near, they could be inside with their kids and grandchild (who have their own entrance), even if separated by a "wall." They will be able to "see" each other in a safe way -- and stay warm, too. Is it eating at the same table or gathering closer together? No, she can't hold her beloved toddler. But they can "touch hands" on the plastic, he can come close to show her things, without concern. Reimagined.

Re-imagining the Decor: Although I'm not sure anyone else could tell, I've reimagined some of my decorating. Given that this hasn't been my best holiday health-wise, getting trees up was an effort. Most had their lights on already, so that was easy. But time is running out and I didn't have "the right" decorations on one of the trees. 

But I had an overload of decorations on the big one. So, I pulled some of the red ones and on they went to the (formerly) "White tree." It's festive, cheery and different. And I put the tree in a different spot, too. You see, I can adapt!

Another tree, the Snowman tree, hadn't been up for four or five years. Hello, Snowfolk! You might even stay after Christmas!


As you saw in THIS post, the Wall Tree with the Shiny Brites and Christopher Radko ornaments didn't make it this year either. So that Radkos got a new spot to sparkle!


Re-imagining the tree: Rick opted to not get a big tree this year, since we wouldn't be seeing the kids and also because the Y lot, which we support each year, was closed and we didn't want to go to Home Depot or Lowes for a tree. I had trees in the basement to spare. And now he has a mini-forest with almost all of the ornaments from his big tree (and all of the favorites!)

(And yes, there is a Christmas tree shortage in America -- people are buying them early and they are getting harder to come by. And not just here in the U.S. but in Canada, too.)

Don't think for a minute I don't know how hard it is to see family traditions that may go back decades take a break. Or how hard it will be for many of us not to celebrate with family and friends. I do. Not seeing the Toddlers will be a bit heart wrenching and it will be sad to not sit in a candlelit church on Christmas Eve as a choir proceeds down the aisle to the strains of "O Come All Year Faithful." I can only imagine the anguish of those who can't visit parents or family members in care facilities.

I also know that for some, this Christmas will be without family members because they have left this Earth, leaving an indelible imprint of holidays past and present. Their lives need to be celebrated for I do believe that in one way or another, they are still at your table.

Others are dealing with illness and caregiving, whether home or in the hospital. I think daily of our blogger friend Lynne, whose husband was in a terrible car accident a week ago, who was hanging on to life by a thread (and is now slowly improving, though the road will be long). And Susie, whose Ted was just released from the hospital after a scary time with pneumonia. There are others, too. It's a tough, tough year.

 

But that is this year. My Christmas wish is that in reimagining Christmas in 2020, we will have Christmases for many years to come, revisiting the people and traditions we so love.


Be merry.

Be bright. 

(A collection of all Christmas 2020 posts is here, in case you missed something during this busy season!)

Sharing with:    Love Your Creativity     /    Tuesday Turn About      /     Let's Keep in Touch        /     Pink Saturday 

41 comments:

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

We must celebrate Christmas as best we can - large or small. It's a gift from God.

Sandi said...

I am envying your snow and your forest of trees!

One year in July my mother sent me a box of Christmas cards. Each was different. There was a mitten card and a reindeer card and one with a little Scottish dog in a kilt...or maybe it was a kilt-like scarf. Anyway, Christmas is when and how you make it. December, July, at home, or abroad. Here we are. I got out my grandmother's China for Thanksgiving and will again for Christmas. I haven't always done that, but now is the time to celebrate. We have now only. This year has taught me that.

Look at our world. We don't all agree. We don't all do the same things. But this year we have. We have slowed down. We have stayed in. There is a "we" in our modern world we haven't had in a long time. I think something good will come of it.

God bless you, Jeanie. Be merry, be bright!

Linda dev said...

Doing my best in strange circumstances with the ever present knowledge that there are many suffering so much. Thank you for charging your Christmas heart.

Mereknits said...

I love your thoughts and ideas. If we want more Christmas's with loved ones we need to be careful this year, it is that simple. Stay safe.

Melissa said...

I just came across your blog and am just so happy that I did. Your blog is not only beautiful but also filled with inspiring words.

I have not thought about 'Mame' in years. You have reminded me we all need to have a little Mame in us, as well as a little Christmas.

Merry Christams!

Melissa

Barb said...

Different maybe, but still Christmas. The story of the birth remains the same. We won't see family, but I'm sure we'll talk to them. We decorated more this year than usual, even Bob got into it and put an extra artificial tree on the porch with lights and candy canes. A new "tradition" for us maybe? We need to be happy while we can because we just never know what life will bring as the blog friends you've mentioned in your post can attest. Thanks for the reminder, Jeanie. Happy Christmas!

Marilyn Miller said...

I absolutely love re-imagining Christmas. There are so many ways to do it and you have really shared some wonderful thoughts on it. This morning at zoom church it was all about music, which it hard to do. One of the guys in the church recorded people ahead of time and had put together several beautiful pieces blending all the individual recordings. Two children played piano pieces from their home, someone else played a saxaphone number and another person did a number from his home. It was quite magical and made me realize how much I was missing the music.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

As a person who has one foot in the Hanukkah camp and the other in the Christmas camp, and has never bought into the hoopla of either tradition, a COVID end of year is not going to be a whole lot different for me. I will miss seeing friends and family, but other than that life will carry on as normal. And my house will look as it does on any other day and that is fine by me, and Miriam too.

Martha said...

Such a beautiful post. You definitely have a way with words Jeanie. Your home looks so gorgeous! I'm one who didn't do much as far as decorating this year, but I am so filled with the spirit of Christmas, and so thankful that my family is healthy. Have a beautiful Christmas week my friend. Blessings to you and yours, hugs!

Prims By The Water said...

I wish my mom had a computer or even an updated phone..so I wont be seeing her. I did hear about them wanting to cancel Christmas. How dare they. Janice

My name is Erika. said...

I agree. You can't cancel Christmas. Just because it has to be different doesn't mean it can't happen. Maybe those people need to think about what Christmas is. Nice post Jeanie. And happy winter-or just about. Hugs-Erika

Red Rose Alley said...

A heartwarming post, Jeanie. When you mentioned Christmas without family members cause they have left this earth, I got very emotional. I feel so bad for them. I like your skinny tree with the whimsical ornaments. I can't believe you decorate that many trees, that's amazing. I love the idea of putting a pretty ornament on a nature branch when people pass by. Your sugar cookies look so Yummy. Christmas will never be canceled, as it is the birth of Jesus. A holy day and one that is so special and wonderful. It will forever and always be here, on earth, in Heaven, and in our hearts. You are right, dear Jeanie.....be merry, be bright. And be light.

~Sheri

Valerie-Jael said...

Enjoy your celebrations as you like them. Hugs, Valerie

Joyful said...

Well put Jeanie. While Christmas is definitely different for everyone, it is most certainly not cancelled :-) God bless and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in 2021.

Tracy said...

Hi, Jeanie! Wonderful to catch up with you this week before festivities begin--at home, just us two! I LOVED this! Christmas is just different this year. And we are OK with that. There is soooo much to be thankful for. Choosing glass half full, over half empty. ;) Love and positivity are gonna help see us through. That you for sharing your bright light! :) Bright Blessings & LOVE to you & yours, my friend ((HUGS))

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Lovely post! Yes, let's re-imagine Christmas.

And, yes, let's...

Be merry.

Be bright.

Happy holidays!

Joanne Huffman said...

Happy Solstice! May the coming longer days include more actual and metaphoric sunshine for all of us. I think the people who complain about canceling Christmas are the same people who complain about not being able to say Merry Christmas - they have mistaken the meaning for a specific ritual and they are mistaken about not being able to do it anyway. Reimagining the way we share Christmas is good for all of us.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Ugh the ‘Christmas is canceled’ BS is just another thing on a long list of things that pisses me off. I love the sentiment of this post. You can still make the holiday special while protecting you and your loved ones so we can have more holidays to celebrate. We are just terrible at delayed gratification and sacrifice in this country. Not all of us - but many are.

Love the Covid room idea! That is so smart! It will just be us on Christmas and probably easter too. Easter is too early for the chance of an outdoor gathering but maybe it will be nice enough for an outdoor egg hunt with Joan. We have been doing lots of zooms and FaceTiming to get through the isolation. Not the same but better than no interaction!! I am glad we have the cheery decorations inside and outside. My mom did the outdoor decorations for us when we were in the hospital. I love seeing others decorations so imagine ours bring joy to others, too. We just have 2 planters and the window boxes - no lights. But it looks very nice!

Here’s hoping next Christmas is more normal. Fingers and toes crossed.

La Table De Nana said...

Yesterday I was stitching listening to a playlist on Spotify..all Christmas..and I thought to myslf..no other holiday inspired so much genius and love.And I felt it.
It's a feeling.
It's different..but it's a feeling..and it's still there.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I'd love to reimagine Christmas. I love how you have reimagined yours. You have certainly covered all the bases, that's for sure. So glad you even loaned Rick some of your trees so he has his own forest this year. Thanks for sharing your reimagined Christmas.

Mine is staying home with no one to share the day with, except my two beloved cats. I can't possibly imagine any other way this year. At least I know I'll stay safe, which is the point, at least for me.

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

Candles in the window, carols on the spinet!

NanaDiana said...

I hesitated as tow what I would do for Christmas. Nothing? Something? All out? I settled somewhere in between. I put up the big tree and the medium three and a couple of small bedroom trees. I hauled out my beautiful white porcelain Nativity set. I baked and bought and wrapped and packed. I turn the lights on as soon as I get up and they are on until I go to bed at night. The kids may not see them but I do and I deserve to smile even if it is by myself.
I did not pull out many of my bins-nor did I pull out my huge collection of Spode..but those thangs will wait patiently for me for another year.
I thin you did a wonderful job of making Christmas "just right" at your own home. I am already looking forward to next year.
Have a blessed week! xo Diana
ps. Cancel Christmas? Seriously?! Idiocy sinks to its own level......

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

This is one of those few times in our lives when everyone we know...and everyone the world over is suffering at the same time. We have much to be thankful for and will get through this with memories that I hope are happy ones. holiday hugs!

ashok said...

A very thoughtful post Jeanie.

Hena Tayeb said...

I agree with your sentiments. We all have to make best of the situation at hand.. think outside the box and get creative. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year my friend.

bobbie said...

A great way of thinking, Jeanie!
Merry Solstice!!

creativeseconds.com said...

What a wonderful post ~ Great outlook! Reimagined is true ~ My sister in NY finally got to watch my daughter perform in her violin recital by a live youtube link! So some good is shining through! ~ Merry Christmas ~

Danielle L Zecher said...

I love all of the different ideas you and others have come up with. I totally agree with you that Christmas isn't canceled. I will never understand why so many people absolutely refuse to bend in order to keep the medical system from breaking.

You've done so much decorating! We've really scaled back this year, so I enjoyed seeing yours.

Divers and Sundry said...

Amen and amen! Your words strike a chord with me as we all struggle with how to make what we can of this season. Thank you :)

Polly said...

Beautiful post Jeanie.

Jenny Woolf said...

What a beautiful, inspiring post, Jeanie! I did enjoy reading it so much. The "Covid Room" is a fantastic idea. And your friend Jane's comment was so wise. I also like the idea of a Secret Santa to a stranger. One thing I am doing is giving more to charities this year - I'm just glad at being lucky enough to be able to do it. Oh - and your trees (and Rick's) are fabulous!

Mae Travels said...

Beautiful thoughts! It's so good to see you thinking creatively about what to do to reimagine Christmas.

be safe... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Laurie said...

You really brought us a bright spot to our day, we need that, thank you my friend, you are a such a treasure.

Iris Flavia said...

Zoom somehow is not here yet, haha, what a fun game of words!
Second try to meet my neighbor W soon with homemade cookies (my sweet tooth fell asleep too quickly). Does 4th floor twice count as training?
Very cute pic of the three of you, thank you for the smile (we need this so much these days!).
We don´t have a tree, but in the house are at least three that wait to be decorated!
Yes. Most forget there are others who suffer from other illnesses/incidents. My 80-year old tenant waited since March for an OP on her hurting hip! March!!
But yes, let´s be merry, there is enough to be thankful for!

gigi-hawaii said...

You have many great ideas for reimagining Christmas. I love that photo of you, Rick, and your friend at dinner with the snow in the background. It is so beautiful, good enough for a postcard. Just love it.

Sylvia said...

Jeanie, This is a great post! Being adaptable is a survival skill. Go with the flow and things go better. I have my tree, nativity, a turkey leg for Christmas day, my wax warmer with Cinnamon Vanilla wax (my favorite) and the yule log DVD in the player. It is what it is! Merry Christmas. Sylvia D.

The French Hutch said...

Christmas can never be cancelled, it's in our hearts and souls. We will be in touch with loved ones whatever way comes. Thanks for sharing your ideas and thoughts and always your photos. Merry Christmas Jeanie and Rick..........

Pam Richardson said...

Jeanie, Christmas may not be the same as normal years, but we will celebrate the greatest Gift ever given! Lovely post...

Victoria Zigler said...

This is an excellent post. I agree: Christmas can't be cancelled. It can be different. It can be reimagined. But it's always going to happen, whether you celebrate it or not, and no matter how you do celebrate it. I love that you've been having a great time decorating; I always enjoy your decoration posts, even though I can't see the things you talk about in them, and catching up on reading those has been a wonderful way to spend some of my Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas!

Lowcarb team member said...

Yes Christmas was different this year, but we were still able to enjoy ourselves albeit slightly different to other years :)

All the best Jan

Terra said...

This is a fabulous Christmas post with inventive ways of celebrating. I like how your cousin created a Covid safe room with a wall of plastic so she can see family that way. Plus leaving Polish soup and Bourbon kits on porches. Brilliant. God's gift to us is so powerful we can find joy even in this pandemic, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that he who believeth in him shall have life everlasting." What joy.

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