Sprinkled Notes published in the Albert Lea Tribune and the Courier Sentinel the week of November 28, 2018
Sitting in the Season
© Julie Seedorf 2018
As I write this, it is the Monday after Thanksgiving, and I realize I haven’t been out of the house since the Wednesday before Thanksgiving except to take my granddog outside on his leash. How does that happen that the days pass by and I veg in my home?
We had food, plenty of leftovers and it was cold outside, which made the perfect “I don’t want to go anywhere” scenario. I am not a cold weather person.
So what do you do when you stay in? Some people get bored, but I find there are many activities or non-activities to keep me busy.
I cooked and I cooked some more. First, the Thanksgiving meal and then full meals for my husband and I. Winter makes me feel like trying the “Becky Home-eckie” thing, as my husband calls it.
I found some good books to read, and, of course, I did a little writing. I also took a few naps, but I found one of my main activities while crocheting was watching Christmas movies. I really wanted to settle in with the Hallmark Christmas movies; however, we are now streaming and none of the venues I subscribe to have the Hallmark channel. For a short time, I considered adding another service so I could watch the Hallmark movies, but the entire purpose of streaming was to save money so I stopped my twitch of hooking up another channel and settled on the Christmas movies through Hulu.
After three or four movies, I had to switch to a game show. Although I loved the movies, it was almost too much happiness. They all seemed to have the same themes, which I already knew. There was laughter, love and looking for a simpler, more peaceful life and love theme. People reunited with loved ones they had been estranged from, kids and people found homes and the movies made me want to believe in humanity once again. There was no gun violence or swearing. There were no explosions or SWAT teams. There was no one insulting each other in the fun as we see all the time on TV shows. It was more like the old “The Adventures of Ozzy and Harriet” and “Father Knows Best” shows — the same shows we decry did not show us real life.
Yet, here we are in the year 2018, binging out on Lifetime Christmas shows and Hallmark Christmas shows. I assume, and you know what they say about assuming, that more women than men watch these shows. What does that say about women in America? It may say that women really do want a kinder, more caring world where they are treated with respect by the men or women they love. In many of these shows, the women are independent women, striving for a career that makes them happy with a spouse or partner who supports that independence or even being a single in the world. High-powered careers may be valued, but being content and making the point that whatever you do — from candy maker to executive — is fine if your priorities are in order, which is family, friendship, kindness and caring.
Christmas music is played earlier every year. Houses are decked out in Christmas baubles before Thanksgiving. And stores start even earlier to hook us into that good feeling we must be looking for. It says something about us as people. We are looking for a “feel good” pick-me-up, and for many, Christmas does that because it has that legacy. I haven’t even begun to mention the reason Christians celebrate Christmas: the birth of the Christ Child.
In polling my readers, there are some who do not celebrate Christmas or can’t stand these holiday movies because they don’t depict real life. Yet, for many of us, that is the very reason we watch them. It’s kind of like the Calgon ditty, “Calgon take me away.” So Hallmark movies, “take me away.”
It is hard to find that simple peace within ourselves. It is hard to slow down and take the time to internalize what we are really looking for. I have a hard time being lazy when I am home. There is always something to do and reading a book, watching Hallmark movies during the day and simply taking a nap or sitting in silence is hard for me to do without feeling very guilty about slacking off. I don’t know about men, but I think women have a problem with simply being in the moment.
I actually had to force myself to sit in a chair or lie on my bed and read for an extended period of time. It was because I knew there were things that needed to be done, even though they weren’t urgent and could wait another day. It was hard to not pick up my cell phone and check the news or send a message and keep on reading. It was a book that I didn’t want to put down, but the niggling guilt that I should be doing something productive was simmering underneath as the words imprinted themselves on my brain.
I did succumb to doing something while I was watching the movies, but it was crocheting, which also soothes my soul. I forced myself to not check my cell phone every few minutes.
I don’t have many Christmas decorations up yet. That itch was there, along with thinking I needed to figure out Christmas cards, plan a Red Hat meeting and of course shop all the red-hot deals that were being sent to my phone. What was I missing?
What are we really looking for with the holiday season? Is it something we are missing in our lives the rest of the year? If it is, what do we need to do to simply be in the season we need in our lives all year long?