Are you feeling the Christmas spirit yet? I put up our tree last weekend, but that's the easy part because it's in the basement, close to where the decorations are stored. I have yet to decorate upstairs. That requires an entire day of dragging boxes up the steps and then back down. I'm not quite eager to do that yet.
But I have enlivened my Christmas spirit in other ways. We made our annual trip to the Susquehanna Valley Mall. My husband insists on one special shopping trip as a family to be together and share the fun of shopping for gifts. He says it helps him get in the spirit and I get to pick the gifts I want instead of being surprised by things I must pretend to like.
We also made a trip to Wellsboro for that lovely town's annual "Dickens of a Christmas". We saw ladies dressed in Victorian-style dresses and hats, children in news boy caps, knickers and vests, and horse-drawn wagons clopping up and down the streets. The main part of town was blocked off to traffic and the sidewalks on each side of the street were packed with open-house shops, food vendors and crafters. Every now and then we'd come across a group of carolers who joyfully sang and wished passers by a Merry Christmas.
I was wishing I had dressed warmer. My face and ears were freezing, but when we needed to get warm, we scurried into a church for some hot chocolate and cookies. Some of the churches held Christmas programs throughout the day and the theatre ran three episodes of "A Christmas Carol," which we missed but it was nice to know it was there.
My favorite part of the whole day was when I stepped into the Historical Society building to get warm. We were on our way to a church at the end of town and I decided to seek warmth. Inside a well-dressed man gave us some history on the town of Wellsboro. My husband didn't get much further than chatting with him. I wandered off to explore the displays of old photos and interesting items from days gone by- A dishwasher from 1930, an old wringer washing machine. I even saw a photo of children stepping off horse-drawn school buses. Didn't know there was such a thing.
An elderly woman in a red hat shared some memories with us. She talked about tubes of oleo that had to be squeezed by hand to bring on the yellow coloring and how she got a job as a teenager driving a meat delivery truck. Her dad didn't like the idea until she came home with free meat and cigarettes for him. "Then he thought it was great," she said. That was during the great depression when food was rationed and tobacco was a luxury.
We ended our day with a warm dinner at a restaurant on the way home and a quick shopping spree at a busy gift shop. My mother-in-law bought me a bright red poinsettia and I satisfied my sweet craving at the candy shop. I was so glad I thought of going to Wellsboro and made the effort to plan a special day with my family and in-laws.
There are all kinds of things we do to "get into" the Christmas spirit- decorating, shopping, attending parties, dinners and festive events. But in reality, the spirit of Christmas is everywhere on every day we look for it. Because Christmas isn't just a time of year, a decorated tree or a pile of gifts under it. Christmas is a celebration of Jesus. It's the love of family and friends, and the joy that all those things bring us. We can have that all year round if we seek that love and nurture it. The spirit of Christmas is ours for the asking every day and forever.