A Cozy Fireside Christmas
I remember a cozy Christmas spent in a Holden cabin in the woods with a roaring fire, hot chocolate, and a rocking chair by the fireside. A cedar tree decorated the picture window. The lights on the tree flickered and glowed with the flickering firelight. Christmas music filled the air, and I listened in peaceful solitude as I rocked by the fire.
My son Rodney was about twelve and those were the days, the days of enjoying my son and shopping for his Christmas gifts. We lived in the woodlands of Holden, Louisiana, and he wanted a tent for Christmas that year. He got his tent among other gifts. Reflecting back, I can still see him camped out on the hillside behind our cabin in the woods, the cabin I used to call my Walden. For, I always said, if a man could have his own cabin in the woods, his own Walden, why couldn’t a woman? As Henry David Thoreau had his Walden, I, too, had mine.
Christmas was kept simple, but simple was good enough for us. Enjoying the simple things in life can bring the greatest pleasures. Life is about learning how to enjoy the simple things and taking advantage of them. When I look back on days gone by, sometimes I wish I could go back to the past instead of back to the future for just one day and relive some of those days. I would know to enjoy them while I had them the second time around, wouldn’t I?
Now, Christmas decorations are no longer so simple. We no longer go into the woods and chop down a cedar tree. This year, I have the newest style going, a fiber optic Christmas tree. A simple star no longer adorns the top. A fiber optic angel has taken the place of the star. My son is now grown and gone with kids of his own. They live in another state, so I don’t get to see them for Christmas. My yard is the best decorated it has ever been, but my baby boy is not here to share it.
Simple is better. A fancy decorated yard is empty without children to share it. If I could trade it all for the simple times, I would do it in a blink. Appreciate the simple things in life, because they are the best, the things that money can’t buy, the things that you can’t get back once they are gone.
Some of the best years of my life were when my son was about twelve, but I didn’t know it then. Why are we always in such a hurry for everything? I spent my days in a hurry to obtain my education, in a hurry to do everything. In life’s hustle and bustle, in my haste, I forgot to take the time to enjoy the simple things while I had them. I was in such a hurry to live life that I really didn’t live life. I let life live me.
Don’t let life live you, or it will pass you by. Live life and enjoy it to its fullest. Enjoy each day and take each day one day at a time, being thankful for the day you have.
While I will never be able to go back and see my twelve year old son camped in a tent on the hillside, perhaps I will see my grandsons’ faces lighted with joy as they someday receive a tent from grandma for Christmas. Perhaps, it is meant for grandparents to get to relive the days of rearing their children through their grandchildren, a chance to do better and appreciate it more the second time around.
Now, there is one thing that could still make this fancy fiber-optic Christmas special, if only my grandchildren could see my fancy decorated yard. Somehow sharing it with them from another state, with only pictures, is just not the same as being able to see shining eyes and glowing faces. Though my youngest son is now a grown man, being able to share it with him would make it special again. Decorations and presents don’t make Christmas special. People do.
Christmas today is a yard of blow-ups: Santa, Snowman, Grinch, Reindeer, Santa and Reindeer, but no real live children and grandchildren to share it. Somehow, blow-ups are just not as warm and welcoming as warm hugs from loving family. Yes, I’d trade all this fancy fiber-optic, blow-up Christmas for a simple, traditional family-filled Christmas in a flying reindeer, if I could. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but I say, a thousand words coming from family and friends are worth a thousand pictures.
So, as I try my best to be positive and enjoy my blow-up, fiber-optic Christmas, empty of family, those of you who have your children and grandchildren with you, just know you have the best Christmas of all. You don’t need fancy decorations. You need the gifts that money can’t buy! Those are the best gifts in the world!
I won’t be rocking by the fireside with a cozy fireside Christmas this year. I won’t have a twelve year old son to watch, as he rips open a tent with shining eyes and a glowing face. Instead, I will have Florida sunshine in the Sunshine state and a fancy blow-up, fiber-optic Christmas, but make no mistake, as I enjoy my fancy fiber-optic Christmas, I am thankful, and I do appreciate it, thankful for all those simple, traditional family memories that time and fancy decorations can’t replace. I am thankful that I can still enjoy Christmas and the holiday season and sending my loved ones, who live in another state, Christmas cards.
Enjoy your times together while you have them and enjoy the simple pleasures life has to offer; for, they are the most precious and valuable gifts on this earth, and they are true gifts from God.