In a Christmas state of mind…

It’s the yearning to celebrate, to be hopeful , to see things that are pretty and make me smile the Christmas decorating campaign has commenced for 2021.

I’m hunting around in the dark, barefoot on a cool grey cement basement floor, when the mood strikes. I’m in the mood for Christmas .

It’s 3 am, and I am a menopausal woman who battles hot flashes and insomnia, so why not wander around looking to be creative in the wee hours of the day. My mind appears to be fully awake, even without that first cup of coffee. There is an agenda being birthed. Joyce wants to decorate. Sophia as we affectionately refer to her as, from apartment A, where us three, “The Golden Gals” share our living space.

At least decorating, and putting together seasonal displays enhances my mood, and gives me the satisfaction of having accomplished something. It’s better than tossing and turning, looking for the cool spot on my pillow, and my sound machine teasing me with the soothing echo of raindrops..

Apparently it’s’ the hour to become a decorating Christmas elf.

It takes my eyes a minute to adjust as I fumble around behind the double doors in the basement searching for the light switch. These led lights at least are not glaring, as they gradually bring items into focus . They are what I like to call a ” slow burn.” Like a gas lantern coming into a slow flicker, these lights start out dim, but then gradually decide to actually light up a situation.

I know there is a section down here near the back wall on pine plank shelves where all the loot is stored. I wander forward, and I have to say that I’m really glad that this is not a creepy basement. I don’t need any help with my prolific imagination to see horrific images hiding amongst the shadows. Sometimes a persons’ imagination wrecks havoc on their state of mind.

My roommate-friend and soul sister even made up an extra bedroom situation over beside the furnace, that’s how not creepy it is down here . She affectionately refers to it as ” The Royal Suite.”

She has commented that she sleeps amazingly well by the furnace. Turns out the furnace is one big sleeping machine.. who knew? You could save yourself some money and just cuddle up to your furnace.

Maybe coffee is a good idea at this point . I find my worn beige leather moccasin style slippers, with white bunny fur cozy liners, and search for my robe. These slippers have been well loved, and mended on several occasions. The glass colorful beadwork has come apart somewhat, but I still love these little items. They are stretched out, and seen many happy Christmas seasons, so I can’t as yet bear to part with them .

The aromatic promise of dark liquid energy booster filters upwards to my nose, and a satisfactory smile lifts the corners of my mouth.. soon. Sometimes coffee feels like it just takes way too long to brew. That first sip… heavenly sunshine..

Time to find the big boxes, and plastic tub containers, and bring it all upstairs, and make a pile.

I’m trying to be extra quiet so as not to awaken my other roommate in the next apartment. Inevitably, when I am attempting to be the most stealthy, do I drop loud resounding objects? I don’t know, but of course this happens..An ornament falls out of one of the boxes and bursts into a thousand sprinkles of shard glass upon the hard floor.

” Way to go Grace,” I admonish myself out loud.

I hear my Mother’s voice resounding in my head …I’m great at negative self talk . Nobody can make me feel worse them I myself can do to me . I’m working on it . I know this is not a helpful way to be . Perhaps it’s blame yourself so that I am first to my own pity party? Moving on.. it’s just an accident , a casualty of Christmas decorating.. don’t let one broken ornament threaten your mojo.

Sorting, and deciding.. hmmm.. Joyce appears, aka, ” Sophia,” and begins to give me some direction, which is helpful. There are 4 trees to be placed, and I needed to know where to begin.

She walks beside me in her slippers and directs me to put the new white tree in the living room, and the other well loved tree in the dining room. One shall go in front of her sitting room window, and one on the front porch .

” sounds like a great way to begin.”

” And for the rest of it, Jill, do whatever you like.”

After she gives me her thoughts, she then says,

” I can’t wait to see what you will do “

That’s all the encouragement I need .

As lights are untangled, and ornaments are removed, it reminds me, that it is good to start fresh, and to take the moment to refresh. Once I get the trees back to their bare bones, and sort out light colors, and various boxes of ornaments…I can get inspired, because I now know what I have to utilize.

There is a level of organized creative confusion that sets the heart racing, and a flurry of excitement fills the air.

Theme trees I am thinking for this year. Kathy is away on vacation for the week, she is from Apartment A, and has given Joyce and I, ” carte blanche” as to what goes where and with whom .

Joyce is so excited.. it’s very sweet, and her joyful, young girl exuberance pushes me forward to make this decorating adventure the best one yet, and something that she can really enjoy. She is very tech savvy, which I am not. We needed to go out and purchase a ” hub” for the sound system she purchased last year, in the after Christmas 80% off sale . She is setting it all up, and downloading apps, and reading instructions. I’m clueless with technology. I barely get by. Instructions to me are to be read only when desperate . Her way is better, and more logical . I need to learn to slow down and start with instructions.. it’s helpful.

We take several trips out to “Dollarama”, ” Canadian Tire,” and ” Home Depot,” to name a few stores, searching for more lights, extension cords that are not orange and neon green, but a dark forest green color. We want the cord to blend.. not stand out . We purchase natural pine and birch arrangements, twinkling lights, and giant red velvet bows, tipped with gold, that needs to be fluffed up a tad .

Celebration and anticipation of times spent with friends and family fill us with ” expectant hope.” I borrow that phrase from author, Stasi Eldridge, in her book, “Defiant Hope.” Thats the kinda hope I’m talking about.

Things are beginning to take shape, and come into focus. Joyce is filled with happiness , and claps her red tipped fingernails together, a joyous smile on her face.

” Oh I just love it dear….”

“Welcome to Bloomingdales’ in our home “

Trees are trimmed, mantels are adorned, and wooden nutcrackers are arranged. Reusing, and mixing things up fills me, and anticipating Kathy’s surprised face when she walks through her front door, after being at the beach is palpable…this present anticipation is exciting.

I am gratified to get to live with these lovely ladies, and will remain forever in awe of my surroundings, and the warmth, and acceptance they have shown me. This is a home inspired by God’s love for me, and for all of us .. Joy to the world… We need that .. that joy… Joy is for Jesus.

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