OK it is not really the last weekend before Christmas, but if you hope to ship anything it is the last weekend before Christmas. It is.
This is where the rubber meets the road. Time for procrastinating is over. Time for a reality check is due; what can be done for Christmas and what can’t be done. The family of years ago with everyone living within a couple of hours of their parents is long gone. We are now scattered to the four corners of the continent and even a few have settled across the pond. It is no longer possible for everyone to descent on the old home place for the holidays. We no longer meet up with family members we love to see and a few we would rather skip seeing. If you are not going to be home for the holidays it is now time things ready to ship.
This long distance family has been a boon for the commercialization of the holiday. When you lived near your family it seemed that you saw them often enough, that if you wanted to give a gift, you knew what your family member would appreciate or need. Your family knew more about your business than you wanted, but there was a quiet understanding when times were tough that your gift may not be as expensive or extravagant as you wished, but it came from the heart. Instead today we feel we must spend to show our love and that we are thinking of family. That shipped gift without your face, well it has to make up for something. So we tend to overspend and send gifts we aren’t really sure are right. Some how we think anything less would not say I love you.
I wrote this because I am struggling with the reality that I am not going to do any Christmas baking this year. I usually bake dozens of cookies or all sorts and sizes. I am that person you hate to get behind at the post office. It is I who lines up with 25 or so priority mail boxes to ship to family and friends all around the country this last shipping Monday before the holiday. Those boxes are lovingly packed to the brim with just enough for each family member to have one or two of each kind. Cookies are my love in a box,and some how not doing it seems like I don’t care enough to make time. Though my logical brain understands the circumstances this year, my heart feels some of that Lutheran guilt.
Today I thought for a couple of minutes about running to town and buying 25 made in Montana goodie food boxes and shipping them apologizing for it not being homemade. Then something kicked in, those that know will understand. Those that would not have understood, should not have been on my list anyway. I have made peace with this decision. I have also promised myself that this year, when they least expect it, I plan to mail those on my Christmas cookie list some love in a box. Not because it is a holiday, their birthday or some significant day, but because I thought of them and wanted them to know someone in Montana loves them.
It feels a little weird, but I know it is alright. The presence of a gift or not does not change how I feel about them. Those who we love know that.