There are so many “seasons”. There are seasons of life, seasons of change, season of the year and finally holiday seasons. How does one tell which season they are in or coming upon? For me I can look in the mirror to see what season of life I am, but living here in Florida at this time of year it is REALLY hard to know what season of the year much less which holiday season unless you go into a store or look at a calendar!
My favorite season of the year is Fall. Growing up and living in the Midwest all of our lives we experienced some the most beautiful Falls. I love all things associated with Fall…the color of the leaves, the smells of all the pumpkin concoctions as well as bonfires, and snuggling up in a comfy sweatshirt.
We left the northern area of the USA in mid October. There was definitely a chill in the air, the leaves were changing color and the scents were also indicating it was Fall! As we traveled further south things got greener and WARMER. If we didn’t look at our calendar or go into a store and be accosted by the sights of all the delicious Halloween candy we would think it was closer to the Fourth of July! I felt cheated by missing my favorite season!
The feeling of missing Fall was short lived as we rode our bicycles in shorts and tank tops. Sunscreen and bug spray are now the scent of our new “Fall”. I tricked myself into believing it was Fall by burning a Fall scented candles and bake goodies and watch football! I could even wear my comfy sweatshirt at night while donning my beloved Birkenstocks.
As we got closer to Thanksgiving I grew a bit nostalgic. I remembered all the wonderful Thanksgiving gatherings we had with family and friends. This year was going to be VERY different. We opted not to go out anywhere to enjoy a feast with others in our campground. I told my Handsome Chauffer of my nostalgia and my need to prepare our dinner in the Mobile Condo as I “needed” to have the sights and smells of Thanksgiving around me to allow me to “feel” as it was truly Thanksgiving. He was glad to have our own little feast, but first we would have to go golfing. He obviously was still enjoying the lack of season change😉! So off we headed to the links….. us and only 3 other parties were golfing on this holiday. The golf course was empty!We returned from the course and the preparations began for our “feast”Mission accomplished! The Mobile Condo’s counters and table was filled with all the delicious foods that were our family’s Thanksgiving staples including Pumpkin pie! As we sat down to enjoy our meal we reminisced about our past Thanksgivings and gave thanks for all of our blessings. We agreed that although the food made the “season” it was more than that. Thanksgiving isn’t just a meal once a year it is a feeling we have adopted in our hearts daily. God gives us things to be thankful for each day…so EVERY DAY is Thanksgiving day!
November quickly turned into December all the while the sun was shining bright keeping the temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s. A FAR cry from what Decembers are back where we called home all of our life. We watch the nightly news with the reporters telling us if the impending deep freeze and blizzard conditions. We think of all of our family and friends that have to endure the conditions. We are equally thinking about our decision to move further south this year. We still are liberally applying sun screen instead of coats and mittens.
December is a month of celebration for our family. We have a birthday a week and sometimes two. If we were not celebrating birthdays we were gathering to celebrate Christmas.
My Handsome Chauffer starts the month of celebration with his birthday. As a family we had a tradition of going out on his birthday or the weekend near it in search of the “Most Perfect” Christmas tree at our local tree farm. With our saw in hand we would begin the hunt; each of us with our eyes peeled for “The Tree”. More often than not I would spy the tree right away, but would not make the final decision until we walked the ENTIRE tree farm. After an hour of so we would ultimately return to the first spot and the sawing would begin. My Handsome Chauffer would give each of the kids the opportunity to saw as well…., then in unison we would yell timber and hope it didn’t drop on anyone. The excitement was over and now the complaining of how cold they were began. Soon we would hear the sputter of the old farm tractor and wagon to pick us up. Hopping up on the wagon heading to the barn where the potbelly stove was stoked warming up the place and hot chocolate with candy canes to stir it was the treat for all. We would tie down the tree and make the trek home for more fun aka chaos to take place!
First thing on the agenda was to put said tree in the stand. An easy task you would think, but NOT! While looking for the perfect tree without “bald” spots we often neglected to check the trunk to see if it was straight. Next,try to get the tree in the door with out using words that generally are not used to express JOY…the tree would be in! Let me say that most of the trees we harvested over the years somehow grew in girth exponentially by the time we got them home! For some reason in the field and amongst other trees they NEVER looked THAT HUGE. Finally getting it in the house we would find that not only was the trunk VERY crooked that required at the very least a shim or one to two copies of War and Peace under one of the legs of the stand hidden by the tree skirt ( I also have some of my OWN Macguyver skills😉) the tree would take up no less than 1/3 of our living room space!!! “Oh well who really needs to sit on that silly couch any way”?? We have plenty of floor space to sit on and look at our behemoth tree!!
With the tree in place my Handsome Chauffer’s “job” completed he would retire for a nap or a much needed Hot Toddy while the kids and myself would begin adorning the “Prettiest tree we have EVER had”. Soon the kids would lose interest and go watch whatever Christmas special was on TV leaving me to finish.
As the years went on we gave up the “real” tree and opted for artificial. Not just one artificial but MANY! We had all sorts of sizes through our each room in the house. Each tree had a different theme. The house looked so spectacular and festive. It would take me an entire day to do. I absolutely loved the look on family’s faces when they would get home from school and work as the saw CHRISTMAS had arrived! I am not sure if it was that the loved the festive look or were happy that they were not the ones who had to do the work😉
Over the years as we traveled I would collect ornaments for souvenirs My Handsome Chauffer would also give each of the kids an ornament to commerate something significant about their year. Over the years the memory tree was my favorite. The family would look at an ornament and would be able to tell a story about it. We shared lots of laughs and sweet memories talking around the tree. Many of these ornaments have been passed on to our kids so they can start their own memory tree.
Fast forward to 2016 in Florida. The weather is still very summer like, but there is Christmas in the air. We only have one tree which stores nicely under our bed. We proudly display in in our “living room” picture window aka windshield on our steering wheel. No shims needed. Macguyver found something in recycle bin to create asolid surface. The first year out we only had lights on it with popcorn and cranberries we strung. This year we actually have hand made ornaments that were given to us by a family member.
Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.
We pray that all can experience the PEACE that surpasses all understanding daily…not just ”Tis the Season but ALWAYS💗