Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas mood Rx

There are some people who get in a good mood about Christmas the day after Thanksgiving (or earlier) and remain cheery all season, either because they love shopping, decorating, and baking, or because they are spiritual people who can retain their equilibrium through a season of consumption.

I'm not one.

Advent (or the pre-Christmas shopping season) also happens to be one of the busiest times of the semester for me. So while many people are shopping sales, setting up Christmas trees, or lighting Advent candles, I'm teaching, meeting with students, and grading, grading, grading.

As my Dad (a retired professor) and I commiserated, we can't even think about Christmas until the grades are in. And then my mood improves immensely! I can bake, plan, shop, and stop to smell the Christmas tree with equanimity.

My children, on the other hand, are squirrelly from before Thanksgiving until Christmas day afternoon. They're excited, and round about the 20th, that excitement turns to bad behaviour. Usually, Christmas Eve (today) is the worst day.

I think last year was the first year we took them swimming at the Y on Christmas eve. We did it again this year and it did help their moods. And I got in a few laps!

After we left the Y, I had Bruce drive back by the dojang. Justin had talked about opening up on Christmas eve for anyone who wanted to work out. He was there just as we arrived, and I went in with him.

I don't know who else he contacted about today, but we were the only ones there. Makes sense. Most people spend the day with family. My extended family is 600 miles away, and Justin seems to want to remain staunchly independent from his mom and his dad except when expected to be there, so we were in the same boat today.

TKD was also excellent remedy for Christmas overload. Justin and I worked on my new form, Palgwe 5. He gave me some good tips for remembering how to do the scissors blocks. We also went over 3 and 1 step sparring. All that was so useful, not to mention enjoyable to work on.

Most enjoyable, though, was just being there. It's such a wonderful space, with its amber hardwood floors, high ceilings, mirrors along the wall. I've gushed about it here before! Today the space made my feet feel like dancing, so I worked out a petite allegro while Justin changed.

Now I'm ready to enjoy Christmas Eve--church at 5, drive around to see the lights afterwards, and a light supper at home. If the kids are still grouchy, I think I'll be able to handle it. And maybe I'll even be able to soak in what it might mean to celebrate the incarnation of mercy, peace, and love. A peaceful day and a bit of exercise can prepare the spirit.

Merry Christmas to all!

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