A Christmas Letter, 2021

Routines. Traditions. Exercises. Commitment. These sweet concepts ground me—even the thought of them. They don’t scare me or worry me about impending boredom. These words make me feel comfort. They have no bearing on my spontaneity. And I think I live a little better keeping them in mind.

Below I have my second ever Christmas letter. I hope this becomes a tradition. I hope the exercise of this letter works for me. Does two times make a routine or a tradition? Can it be called a history? I know a nurse who thinks two times does indeed make something a “history of.” I like this history. I like the remembrance of this letter writing and the idea that I can go back years from now and read this letter to me, and to you and recall the second year I bought into Christmas.

To you…

Dear Friends:

Dark roast coffee sits in my Santa mug and the fire hums. My singular stocking hangs by that old symbolic typewriter my cowboy friend picked up for me in an antique market south of the boarder. It’s mid afternoon and the sun is fighting the bitter cold. Today the cold wins even though a beam of light hits the spot right next to me.

Christmas was just a few days ago. I’m still feeling the loveliness of it all. I don’t know if it’s the holiday season in particular, my committed to the beauty of this Christmas season or the memory of last years Covid-19 holiday extravaganza (I roll my eyes). It was a near miss. But this year I brim with gratitude.

Gratitude is not just for Thanksgiving.

I was grateful for the fun outings to purchase a tree and toss it over my shoulder like a Santa’s helper lumberjack. Smiling the entire time under my mandated mask. I handed it off to my boyfriend. Arms now empty I grabbed a poinsettia and a tiny live tree for the dining room table. I was going to Christmas-ify my house! I cleaned. I decorated. Wreaths went on front and back doors. I took out my Christmas mugs and dishes, using them as often as possible with company and on my own.

Each time I pulled up in front of my house I paused at the image at the twinkling lights of my tree through the window with its irregular edges, tall and slightly wonky. It made me smile. I took baking to both neighbors with thank you notes. I was grateful.

My speakers played more Christmas music than ever before filling my house with that seasonal vibration. I hosted meals with friends to show my appreciation for them and what they mean to me. I used the Christmas plates. I walked as often as I could in the snow. I made lists and made sure I had a good attitude shopping for gifts. I shoveled without complaint. I wrapped presents with craft paper and garnished the gifts with cuttings from the tree. I truly felt like Santa’s helper.

Christmas eve, keeping traditions I went to my sister’s house for a meal, some good conversation and laughs. Christmas day my boyfriend, his daughter, and I drove to his sister’s farm. We ate so much and laughed even more. I love this place. I love the feeling of the singular house on the prairie, soft blue hills in the far distant south west. Winter carpet of snow and that icy sky—and me, with my camera, just hanging out after the traditional turkey meal. Walking it off and documenting the simple beauty around this place.

I had friends come over too and my social calendar was filled. But, Lord! Isn’t that the point? We gather. We laugh. We talk. We exchange tokens and gifts and stories. This year it was purposeful. We hit the pause button on work and life outside of this season and fell into all the pretty, twinkle, sensory experience this time offers. Restrictions were less restrictive. I was grateful for that too.

I recall our restricted 2020, and for that I never did feel any resistance to visiting this year. I said yes to every meeting, greeting, walk, shop, dinner, coffee, gift exchange. I learned from last year that the most important thing in this season is our people. Is the love. Is the time spent. Is a peaceful heart and a joyful spirit. Is there a greater lesson than last year—showing us what and who we need in these days and every day? Who and what to be grateful for?

And with that I hope that you are reflecting on who and what you are grateful for whether those reflections are big or small may you hang on to these seasonal memories into 2022 and keep those you love near and dear.

Merry Christmas and blessings to you.

Angie Counios

P.S. This letter is a wee bit late. Pretend I mailed it to you. :*

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