Several years ago, Jack and I went to get our Christmas tree at the tree farm where we have gotten our tree every year since we were married (we actually got married on Christmas eve at that tree farm 12 years ago) but they were sold out. This had never happened before, and we were really disappointed. It had been our tradition. It seemed romantic. “How could any other place ever be right, or hold that same magical feeling?” were the thoughts we had.
We drove around looking for a tree and couldn’t find anything. Then we happened upon a big truck, parked in a muddy lot on the side of the road, that had some trees leaning up against it. Not very romantic, not very special, but at least they had trees. We got out of the car and a girl with brightly colored hair and many rings (nose, lip, ear, eyebrow) greeted us with a smile. Her boyfriend came over also.
They were sweet, funny, knew a lot about trees, and also seemed to love what they were doing. Jack and I really liked this young couple and bought a tree from them. This year, we made a decision to go back there; to the truck at the side of the road. We drove home last evening with our tree and both commented on what a wonderfully uplifting experience it was. We wouldn’t hesitate to go back to our original tree farm, but we didn’t need to. The spirit of the holidays can be anywhere, anyplace, where people are doing what they love.
This is something that I need to remind myself of….especially at this time of year. I’ve had a tendency to think way too much about the outside stuff, feeling that if I could get just the right presents, have our home very festive, prepare fabulous food, and make everything (on the outside) perfect, then that would create a perfect holiday. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of those things, but they don’t make a perfect holiday. As a matter of fact, I’ve had some pretty tense, unhappy, holiday times from being too concerned about the details, too focused on my plan unfolding perfectly (my conception of perfect).
Happy, flexible, relaxed, loving, people make a perfect holiday. An open heart and mind makes a perfect holiday. The spirit of love and joy, freely shared, makes a perfect holiday. The attitude that all is working for good, and I am open to being surprised and delighted by every moment, makes a perfect holiday.
“Nearly all the best things that came to me in life had been unexpected, unplanned, by me”. Carl Sandburg