A few weeks ago, I started my Christmas shopping, picking up a few small things here and there. More recently, I've begun shopping in earnest. I've never been one to leave Christmas shopping until the last minute but I have never started so early and done so much.
Last week, I went to the mall with a friend and we hummed along to the Christmas music already playing in stores as we bought a few gifts for our respective loved ones. We laughed and talked as we wandered through the mall, shopping bags in hand. As our time wound down, we stopped for coffee and I mentioned that I have thrown myself into the holidays and all of the preparation as a way to cope the serious issues we are facing as a country. She said, "I know! I haven't thought of Al Franken once this afternoon!" Neither of us have our heads in the sand but need hope too.
That's what the holidays are giving me right now - hope. I'm surrounded by family and friends whom I love and love me and I want to revel in that from now until 2018. I want to enjoy every moment. I want to give to those I love - not just in the material sense - because it brings me joy.
Tonight, we decorated our Christmas tree. We put on the Christmas music and brought out all the ornaments we have accumulated over the years. We smiled and shared the memories associated with each one. We sang along to Barbra Streisand's manic version of Jingle Bells as we do every year and hummed along to Vince Guaraldi. Miguel put the star on the top of the tree for the first time since he is now the tallest in the family. When the tree was all done, Zeca arranged the tree skirt beneath it. Then, we turned off all the lights to full appreciate the tree in its imperfect glory.
Friends, family, and traditions - those are the things sustaining me.