The Fight I Lost With Christmas

A Christmas Letter to a Friend

Dear friend:

You left me with two very tangible moments around the whole Christmas experience.

Over a decade ago you told me your father’s opinion on Christmas, but you didn’t just state a sentence. You told a story and you confessed that you were surprised with your father’s reflections. That story you shared stayed solid in my brain and the pictures I made manifest in your storytelling is consistent year after year, of a Hallmark Christmas no one can achieve—ever—in vision or feeling. It stuck. You are a grand storyteller. And you left me in contemplation.

I used to fight this time of year but I’ve learned that it was a fight I have never won. I would refuse decorations and socials. I would refuse to open my heart. I would grumble at snowfall. Sadly that fight never felt like winning. So, now I have resigned myself, happily to the spirit of Christmas. And, well, it’s not a perfected Hallmark Christmas, but it’s mine and I’m grateful for the contemplation you offered around this holiday season—where you directed my brain around these festive days. You probably didn’t even know it but that’s okay.

The second moment you inadvertently offered me was an audio clip you posted on your Facebook page. It was Al Maitland reading Fredrick Forsyth’s The Shepherd on CBC. I was cleaning my house, lost in the mundane tasks of having a sparkling home for the holidays. I tapped on your post for some background noise and listened. Found myself sitting on the edge of the old claw foot tub, mop in hand, completely lost in this story with no desire to find my way out. I was as engaged as I could be, picturing it all, feeling like time had stopped. And, at the end of it all I had another Christmas story, a new one for me. I loved it.

I am going to listen to it again this year, and all the years after this, as my own personal tradition. I may refrain from cleaning the bathroom while I do it and enjoy a drink instead. I also have a few new traditions that I have adopted over the recent years when I lost the fight with Christmas. This is one. Thank you.

So, this evening, in front of my fireplace, feet up, warm beverage in hand, beside a decorated tree I’m going to listen to this story, think of these gifts you gave me and enjoy this season in my un-Hallmarked version of Christmas.

May you and yours have a peaceful, happy Christmas time and I thank you for the offerings you gave me by accident from your generous soul.

Christmas Blessings,

Angie Counios

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