i'm a December baby, so i've always had a special place in my heart for Christmastime. it's a month filled with more family and friend gatherings than any other time of year, and i eat more chocolate than i should be allowed to consume.
yes, giving and receiving presents for Christmas can be really fun and exciting, but this month carries with it a great deal of magic for me that has nothing to do with physical gifts. i also love the transition into the new; we mark the passage of time every 12 months by flipping over to a brand new year, so in December there's a finality - a sense of completion - and also a space for reflection and reverence.
when i was little, i started a Christmas ritual for myself that i've kept up with nearly every year since. i remember being very small, around five or six and waking up very early on Christmas morning. it was still dark, but the kind of darkness that is tinged with blue, a fading into dawn. my parents and two younger sisters were still fast asleep, and so i crept out of my room and down the hall to the living room where our Christmas tree stood. at that time, still believing in a jolly, grandfatherly figure who had visited our house that one special night to grace us with gifts, i was mesmerized by the magical presence (wink, wink) under the tree when mere hours before the space had been empty. i remember staring in awe, and if my five-year-old self could have understood the feeling inside, i would have known it to be gratitude. not just for the gifts but for so much more.
i remember quietly plugging in the dangling end of the light strands and a second later i stood illuminated by the glow. i sat down cross-legged on the floor and stared up at this magnificent tree and listened to the quiet, stillness of the house, relishing this moment of being the only one awake inside. knowing more fully who i am now, i'm not surprised that this moment became imprinted into my memory, and became a yearly ritual. as much as i love people, i've always needed to find times of quiet and solitude in order to fully process my life's experiences and gain clarity. in a loud, busy house, this early morning time by the tree provided me just that.
as best i can recall, i continued to do this every year. i never set an alarm, or ran into any other family members (even in a house of five other people, with the occasional relative staying over Christmas eve). and as i've grown, it's taken on deeper meaning. with each passing year, i would sit with our lit tree and silently bless all that i had in my life. every person i had in my life. some years i'd have the company of a faithful pup, excited to eat a special, early breakfast. one year, while i'd been sleeping, it actually snowed (my wish come true).
i'm a lot older than five now, but the magic of this time of year has only increased. it has since become a sacred ritual for me to take time to honor my loved ones, and myself.
merry christmas & happy holidays ~
the backyard seahorse