Wednesday, December 17, 2014


I love to decorate for Christmas.

But I prefer to do it very slowly. 

The halls of most American yuletide-loving homes are fully decked by the close of Thanksgiving weekend, but that's when I'm just beginning my process. Armed with bits of paper, tree branches, fishing line, assorted garlands, and twinkle lights, I expect to spread the job out over the next few weeks.

Here, in day-to-day installments, is the story of how my house is getting ready for Christmas.

* * * * *

The most depressing day of the year is the last day of Christmas vacation.

All the excitement and exuberance of the holidays have played themselves out, and life is about to lapse back into mundane drudgery. 

No matter how long the break I've had from school or work, what once seemed an infinitely long vacation has come to a screeching halt. 

My emotions inevitably shift from gaiety and light to the bittersweet sense of time passing too quickly, of life galloping by, of opportunities lost, of the future morphing into the past at a bewildering, breakneck pace. 

I always feel inexpressibly sad.

The good news is that I've learned to expect that melancholy mood, and even implement my strategy to fight off the blues as I decorate my home for Christmas. 

My secret weapon?

Baby plants.

Forced bulbs - paperwhites, crocus, tulips - are my very favorite therapy for the January doldrums.

But any young green budding thing will do.

This year, a little collection of succulent starts will be filling the bill.

I've given them a place of honor, here in my kitchen window, though I must admit that at the moment, these tender buds are drowned out by the more festive trimmings that fill the room with their sparkle and glitz.

Come January, though, when the tinsel and trimmings have been packed away till next Christmas, these delicate shoots will take center stage, where they will remind me that for every wistful ending, life offers an exciting new beginning.

And if I will let go of my post-Christmas sorrow and embrace the fresh start of the new year, good things will most certainly sprout.

* * * * *

Some other stories about beating the January blahs:

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