Chrismukkah.

This year I’ve been bitten by the holiday bug harder than I think I’ve ever been bitten in my adult life. It may even be harder than I’ve ever been bitten in my whole life because childhood was a lot about the getting and it’s the giving that makes me much more excited these days. And not only that, this year has been about teaching and thankfulness. It’s been about not having a lot, material wise, but being billionaires in the love and family departments. It’s about watching Scarlet watching the holidays unfold:

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As I’ve written before here, I’m very in love with all holidays while keeping the religious depth and meanings of most of them at a distance. I’m confused, I’ve admitted. However, I feel like it’s all coming together just as it should, despite my confusion about religion and spirituality. The divine is all around us and Scarlet is watching it, touching it…is part of it.

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I’ve watched her gasp in wonder and I’ve seen the reflections of both our Christmas tree lights and of our menorah candlelight in her eyes. I know she knows that this time is special even if she doesn’t quite know why. Heck, sometimes I don’t even know why and that’s never seemed to matter. We had a wonderful weekend in which we celebrated Chanukah and Scarlet met Santa. He sat with us during a short, meaningful horse-drawn wagon ride in the parking lot of Atkins Farms. When he asked our wagon full of people what we wanted for Christmas, people had trouble answering. After a silence, I joked that I wanted rubber duckies and Scarlet wanted an iPhone. Cassidy told Santa he wanted Doctor Who action figures and Santa sort of chuckled and told Cassidy he was showing his age. Santa said that what he wanted was for the good feelings of the holidays to last year-round. I know the holidays can be a really hard time for people. They’ve been a really hard time for me some years. This year they seem to be filling my soul in a way it really needed to be filled. I think it hit me the day after Thanksgiving while we walked around the holiday festival at Shelburne Falls. The Greenfield Savings Bank branch had a cider/cookie party in the lobby with a Christmas tree hung with wishes from children in need. I pulled one down that tugged on my heart and it’s been full force holiday spirit since then. I’ve written here about anxiety that I’ve had since July. It’s been really improving lately. Whenever I feel any sort of negativity, it’s a feeling of burning acidity in my chest – it’s anger and fear. It reminds me of pregnancy-induced heartburn, actually. And just like with pregnancy-induced heartburn, there is a cure, there is a magic chalky pill that cools down the burning. I just focus on love and light and giving and it works like a charm. I may reach out to someone by phone or email. I may pluck a wishlist from a child in need off a Christmas tree. Often it’s just enough to think loving thoughts.

I think Santa is sort of right. The holidays have been a trigger of goodwill that has propelled me to higher ground, and I hope to take that with me into January. He was a good Santa.

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And of course, being Jewish, Chanukah has stolen the show lately. We went to an amazing Chanukah party at Grandma Ruth and Grandpa Ernie’s house on Saturday night where the fire was roaring and the food was delicious. We were joined by a special friend and I was 100% bowled over by the love and support and awesomeness of my family. On Sunday night, I went alone to a friend’s Chanukah party since Scarlet’s been kicking around a small cold. At this party I was once again bowled over by the love and support and awesomeness of my group of friends. Seriously. I’m not usually a gusher on this blog unless I’m talking about Scarlet but I am so blessed to know the people I know. No words. I should have brought my camera. My words and photos wouldn’t have done it justice, though. You’d have to have experienced the full history of this group of friends and what we’ve been through together and where we are today. They know who they are and I know they feel it too.

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday season. Sounds silly and greeting-card-like but there’s a reason some sayings are used a lot, isn’t there?

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