Okay...it's time. It's Thanksgiving weekend and this year the No Vacancy sign is hanging in the window. The nest if full and the kids are busy helping my husband get the wreaths from the attic. The wreaths are not real evergreen, they aren't adorned with fancy ribbons.... they are a simple treasure. Every year we unwrap them from the plastic garbage bags that have been delicately tied tight around each one, and we fuss with the red velvet bows to get out the wrinkles.
My oldest son holds the ladder as my husband carefully hangs each wreath in the window. Our first Christmas in this house was 2015, and the year my mom passed away. That Thanksgiving with the help from my brother-in-law we rigged up a contraption, to this day, I'm not sure what it all entails, but it works like a charm and the perfect way to hang the wreaths. There are six wreaths that match, and the other two are add ons.
I walk away when the last wreath is hung, to take a deep breath as memories flip through my mind like a movie reel.
That night as soon as the sun sets, we get the family together to turn on the spotlights. "Hurry up, we are ready to turn them on." my husband yells upstairs to one of the kids. "I'll grab the camera so mom has a picture." says my daughter. And then we turn on the switch, and it's beautiful. Even more beautiful than the year before.
"Mom, will you turn off the lights outside, I'm trying to study and it's so distracting." I yelled to my parents with the high school sassy'ness' in my tone. "Seriously Dad, it's way too bright." "Do you guys really have to hang those wreaths in the windows? They scratch and make weird sounds all night long, and I can't sleep." My dad never dimmed the light, or took down the wreaths.
You seen those wreaths hung on the windows of my childhood house at the holidays. A memory I can replay in my mind like it was yesterday. The wreaths are probably thirty-five or more years old. Now, they hang on my windows, at my house, and I constantly ask my husband to make it brighter, and put another spotlight shining on the wreaths. You see, I want it to shine the brightest so maybe, just maybe my mom and dad can see the light in heaven.
The holidays are a time of joy, and an ever-evolving movie reel of memories., which can also be a reminder of people we no longer have in our lives.
Be compassionate. Be gentle. Be kind, even when patience run thin. Even when the lady ahead of you in line at the checkout is cross and crabby. Give up the best parking spot available to someone else....because they just might need it more. Hug someone who needs it. Take a minute in your busy schedule to have a cup of coffee with a friend that is hurting or alone this holiday season.
Be the brightest light to others this holiday season. And when you see those twinkling, bright lights, take them all in and let them fill your heart with peace and joy.
And when the days comes after the holidays that we take the wreaths down. We will wrap them just as carefully and meticulously as the year before, because it's our tradition. And you know what, they will be hanging in windows for many more years.