Anticipation is definitely something I’ve felt around this time of year. And who has more anticipation than a young child? When I was little, Christmas was one of my favorite days. I’d count down to it, plan my present giving strategy, maybe practice my lines for the yearly pageant. I’d lay awake nights watching the beautiful Christmas lights on the tree through a myopic fog that made them look glowing and mysterious, rather like this photo.
Growing older, I’ve tried to learn to uncouple anticipation from expectation, and thus, disappointment. Oddly, I’ve found a small glow of anticipation for the holiday season again. It’s only been made possible by studiously ignoring all the glitz in the stores, the over inflated artificial hype. That’s easier since my TV turns on only occasionally and I haven’t watched even one movie in quite a few months. Commercials are my bane and I avoid them, the only ones I hear are from the radio.
With the reduction of the pressure of commercialism, I find that there is still a soft little place in my heart that I can leave open to anticipation. I think about finding something nice to do for one of my coworkers, who seems rather lost and unloved. I quietly plan a cookie baking day, so I can invite my neighbor over, so she, my spouse and I can bake cookies and I can teach her to bake bread. The plan is to distribute small packages of cookies to all my close neighbors. I think, “maybe a few strings of lights to celebrate the Winter Solstice would be nice.”
Slowly, gently, anticipation grows again. The holidays start to be about people I care about and doing nice things for others, as well as enjoying good food and fun times. I remember being that kid who used to look at the Christmas tree through a half open door.