I need to plan some Christmas shopping. I've been keeping a running list of what I want and what I'll get for everyone else on draft in Gmail- it's been really good system. Every time I think of something else I can just hit the nearest computer for a minute and add it. I feel like I'm not forgetting anything. Looking at it strategically I'll be doing a HUGE order on Amazon, and then getting a few gift certificates. Maybe some magazine subscriptions? I haven't worked it all out yet. The only thing that has been super easy are presents for people at work. When I go to Target I check out the $2 section by the front door for little stuff to put in work stockings.
I'm trying to be very mindful of Christmas this year. What it means, how I'll celebrate it. How I can make it work without spending loads of money on things that people won't get use out of. I realized a few days ago that out of all the things I got last Christmas, there are 4 I use consistently: a timer that counts up or down or shows the time (it lives in my kitchen and I use it every single day), an LED key chain light (soooo handy), a scarf that is beautiful and soft and warm and goes with everything, and a cardigan I got with a gift certificate from my sister. I am trying to think how the gifts I give can be useful like that and not just take up space.
This is the first year I'm not planning to be with family, because we're all in our different spots of the world. I am looking forward to a relaxing weekend and a day of calm and peace. I can bake cookies and listen to music and relax. It will be a good time to come up with some goals for the next year. It's like a day of Thanksgiving just for me. I know that sounds weird and a little selfish. But I'm not at all religious, I haven't been to church in years and the closest thing to God I believe in is some cosmic force. I haven't even worked that out for myself.
Sunday when I go home I want to pull out my box of Christmas decorations. I got a little tree last year that just fits on an end table by my couch. I have a collection of ornaments that are incredibly hap-hazard. My parents bought my sister and me one ornament each every year starting at our first Christmases. When we got big enough we could pick our own and does that ever make for a random bunch! When I look at magazine spreads of Christmas trees and decorating, the trees are always beautiful but a little sterile. Every holiday season when I unpack my box it is like seeing old friends- there is a mouse with wings holding a guitar (I think I was three when I acquired that), a golden fancy Victorian fan (7 or 8), gorgeous hand blown glass balls from more recent years. I put up the lights and ornaments and then turn out all of the lights in my apartment except for the tree and sit and look at it for a while. We used to do that when I was little and it was always a nice tradition. Turn on some Christmas music and pour a glass of wine (now, not when I was a kid!) and ponder the holiday season. I'm almost ready for Christmas. If I see some snow, I'll be set!
So, even with the travel and the craziness at work and the drama of learning a new job and being far away from family, I'm going to make this a nice Christmas. Even if it is just for me. I often think I am lucky for being a person who is content in solitude.