Yesterday evening one of my friends mentioned to me that she had seen some Cherry Cordial ice cream somewhere. She mentioned this because she knows how much I love those things–they make me think of my Daddy. We always wrapped up a box for him and put them under the tree.
As we were talking about how good we knew it would be and wondering where she saw them, I said, almost forlornly, “They’re probably for the holiday season only.”
We both sighed. She said, “Yeah. Probably so.”
Isn’t that the saddest thing? All the good things that will be over on December 26th?
I spend a lot of time and energy on Christmas, working up to the day, as I’m sure many people do. I really wish more people celebrated the Christmas “season”–from Christmas Day until Epiphany on January 6th. Christmas movies–when I would actually have time to watch them, Christmas music to listen to and lift the spirits, and best of all–the spirit of folks around us–the giving spirit would carry on beyond December 25th.
I had an amazing retail experience yesterday. I was shopping for a young man I’ve never met. I have never shopped for a male that age before and I was clueless. I only knew the brand of clothes he would like–nothing about styles. I headed out, a little nervous and a whole lot lost. When I got to the store, I guess I looked as lost as I felt, because the young sales associate asked me if I needed any help.
I mean, Yes please, if you don’t mind.
I explained what I was doing, how I didn’t have a clue what to get, and that I needed the best prices because I wanted to get him more than one outfit. She nodded and led me around the store sharing with me the newly marked down prices on shirts, pants, hoodies, and so on.
For the love. Bless her.
I probably seemed ancient to her, and yet she was patient and kind and made me feel like I could do this.
And so I did.
As I was checking out, another sales associate and I chatted about the holidays. I told her how much I appreciated the help I’d gotten because I really wanted to do this right. She asked me a couple of questions and started clicking on her computer. She then gave me not one but two different discounts. She wanted to be a part of helping this young man as well. Bless her too. I started crying. I couldn’t help it. I’m tired, it’s been a hard week, (and a hard decade for that matter), and I had no clue what I was doing. And here she was, reaching out to help, and making a difference. She stopped, and said, “Don’t cry. It’s okay.” And I think I blubbered something about how I could get him some shoes now. I don’t know, I was so blown away by her kindness. I gave her a heartfelt Happy Holidays/Merry Christmas and left the store, wishing I could have found better words to tell her how much her actions meant to me.
Because you know. She so could have listened to me rambling and just nodded and done her job, and she would have been well within her rights to do just that. I expected no different. But no. She stepped outside her “have to’s” and did what she could. I love that. I want to be just like her.
I was thinking about her and the limited seasonal ice cream and other things that are usually just a part of the holiday season–many of them my favorite things–white twinkly lights (no LED’s please, don’t get me started), Christmas music, excitement and anticipation in my children’s eyes and hearts, friendly greetings, and folks reaching out with a hand to help.
Occasionally we see these things after January 1, but it is something of an anomaly when we do–it’s almost like we don’t trust it, isn’t it? I mean, what would you do if you found a container of “Santa’s Christmas” ice cream (I think that’s the name of it–it’s a delicious coffee flavor?) in the grocery store in May? Would you trust the flavor, that it’s okay? If someone tried to do something kind for you, and they couldn’t shrug it off with “hey, it’s Christmas” because it’s April? I know it can happen, it just seems like on December 26th a lot of folks are ready to move on, pack up the tree and decorations and shut down the music and movies and get on to the next thing.
I’m happy for them, I really am. But that’s not me. I am thankful that I found a radio station that will play Christmas music straight through to New Year’s Eve. And I just checked and it looks like Hallmark Channel will be showing Christmas movies through until then too. It’s a start. I just love the magic of the season, and I guess my heart wonders, just as Miss N of our Sister Circle asked, “Why’s it gotta be just one day?”
Years ago I told myself I would give me the gift of the week after Christmas. I would savor the season the whole week long. Relax and remember. Celebrate. I recall a lady I once knew who gave a “Breaking Down Christmas” party every year, just a few days after Christmas. It was not a New Year’s Eve party, it was a Christmas party. Only it was AFTER the rush and bustle of Christmas Day, and it was awesome. Everyone was relaxed and had a wonderful time.
I know some folks might argue that these things would lose their “specialness” if available year-round, but I don’t know. So if you hear me humming a Christmas tune or see me digging in the freezer at the grocery store in search of Santa’s Christmas or Cherry Cordial ice cream or hear that I’m watching “White Christmas” in February, just chalk it up to whimsy and my quirky ways. It’s just me, trying to hang on to the magic, and trying to make it last for more than just one day…..
because magic and love and kindness really never go out of season, do they?
Today I’ve had Keeping Christmas by Henry Van Dyke on my mind and heart….. it’s really special. Very short, but so full of wisdom and beauty. You can read it here. Merry Memory-Making!