The Community of Christmas

I hope that everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving. Ours was a quiet celebration. Just the five of us-nine if you include our three dogs and beloved gecko. We did stop by a friend’s house for coffee and dessert, a tradition I love.

I am now in full preparation for Christmas. We decorated the tree and got indoor decorations up last weekend. This weekend you will find us in our front yard setting up Christmas lights and decorations-it’s not even December 1st and we look like the Scrooges’ of our neighborhood. Actually front yard decorations are my husband’s territory so maybe I should say that you will hopefully find us in the front yard setting up decorations this weekend….

During last weekend’s indoor decorating session my daughter told me that she was really going to try and get into the holiday season this year. Apparently the last few years she hasn’t been as excited about Christmas as in year’s past. My immediate response was that Christmas comes from within so the joy has to start inside her and then spread to the festivities surrounding her. A pretty good answer in this mom’s opinion, but nevertheless it got me thinking. I’ve had holiday seasons where I’ve felt less than festive but couldn’t put my finger on why. After listening to all day sessions of Christmas music these past few days, it dawned on me what else I’ve missed…community.

We are born into a family, in my case a family of nine with lots of extended family as my siblings got older. Many of us attended some sort of church during our formative years. There were also neighborhoods, and for me a small town where I grew up. Factor in friends, school, jobs, and in-laws and we begin to see just how much community we build around ourselves. Its part of the human condition. We are social creatures by nature, or so I hear.

Could it be that simple though? Does community actual factor heavily into happiness during the holidays? To me the answer is a simple yes. As my crazy extended family has gotten ever crazier and further from me, and as my own children have gotten older and begun adding other plans to their holiday agenda, I find that I miss community more and more.

This year I want to change that.  I’m saying yes to invitations for get-togethers, and if you stop by expect to be invited in and offered a cup of eggnog, cocoa, coffee, or tea. I can even spike them as necessary. It’s my way of saying Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Jolly Winter Solstice!

I’m making an effort to build my community because the world is only as friendly as you make it, and we can always use more kindness.

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