Kathy Riordan

Kathy Riordan
Location
Florida, United States
Birthday
April 27
Bio
One woman's view of life and the universe. Follow @katriord on Twitter.

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DECEMBER 4, 2009 4:58PM

A Naked Christmas

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Back in my childhood in Wyoming, my mother befriended a local ranch hand's wife, a fascinating Dutch woman who'd lived in Norway and Sweden and made the most glorious rye bread.

Aside from her bread making skills, I remember that at Christmastime she took old Christmas cards and cut them in half, then sent them to others as new.

It was my first profound experience with someone's desire to experience Christmas in abject humility.

That stuck with me for a very long time.  I wasn't sure whether she was cutting the cards because she couldn't afford new ones (as I assumed) or whether she was just being a responsible citizen of the planet and ahead of the curve on recycling (a concept we as yet knew nothing about as the 1960's gave way to the 1970's).

 

*******

I recall another Christmas from my childhood, a Christmas when we sacrificed some of our own expectations and gifts and made instead a box of Christmas food and presents for a family we knew wouldn't have a Christmas otherwise.   I still remember pulling up in the driveway of their home next to the church in the early hours of Christmas and leaving a box on their doorstep.

 *******

Another Christmas, years ago, but not in my childhood, it was announced at church that someone had died, one of the oldest members of the parish.  The priest noted that the funeral was going to be held at a local funeral home on the morning of Christmas Eve.  He made sure to mention it more than once, and more than once during the week I heard it.  "Maybe we should go," I said to my husband.  But we put it aside.

The morning of Christmas Eve, I was running around getting more tape, more wrapping paper, more of this, more of that, when I stopped, completely still and quiet, and called my husband.

"Meet me at the funeral home in fifteen minutes," I told him.

When we arrived, we realized we were the only ones there to attend this elderly man's funeral, aside from his only living relative, a young niece, the priest, and one other person.  There were five of us committing that man to memory and honoring his life.  On Christmas Eve.  We stopped everything else we were doing and went to a funeral, then the man's niece took the four of us out to lunch and thanked us for coming.  

On Christmas Eve.

*******

The holidays easily fill up with this and that, coming and going, shopping and wrapping and overspending and overindulging and overscheduling, stress and expectations. 

Sometimes it's good to just get naked. 

Escape into the quiet.

Light a candle.

Simplify.

Do less.

Love more.

Think green.

Rejoice in the moment.

Sometimes it's good to just get naked. 

 

candle 

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Comments

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Agreed, unless is is -30 degrees outside. : )
Nice post. Nice thoughts.
Do less and love more... how true. How I wish I met Els Hillengberg-Cusic.
Four paws for this Kathy! Yes, yes, yes!

Rated!
What a great, great, great post. We get so wrapped up (if you'll pardon my saying so) in our own little, insubstantial lives that we forget what Christmas is all about.

Thank you for bringing it all back into focus.
This is lovely, and a wonderful reminder that it's not about the stuff or the busy-ness.
I'm all for getting naked, Kathy and I plan to be that way for much of the weekend. Kidding aside, this is a really beautiful post.
Lovely post Kathy! However, I need to add that a filthy rich aunt of my husband's re-sent Christmas cards this way simply because she was so incredibly cheap - she also charged family members to come to Thanksgiving dinner. I'm not kidding. So bah-humbug to her.
Thanks for attending that funeral. r
At least tell me (or lie to me) that you were naked while holding that candle. I'll fill in the rest. Unless...

Oh, never mind. Go, get naked.
Stripped down to the essentials, indeed.
Beautiful post. Unexpected ending. :)
Lovely sentiments. You surely got points in heaven for your generous attendance at that funeral. And, yeah, that's my kind of candle.
Very nice recollections and thoughts, and decidedly much-needed as the days grow shorter.

-R-
You built up treasure with that kind deed.
My mother-in-law died on Christmas Eve. Grief is even more difficult in the midst of everyone else's celebration, I think. Not that you begrudge anyone their happiness - it just makes your loss all the keener. I'm so glad you went to the funeral.
Wonderful thoughts!!! Rated.
Lovely thoughts! Thanks for sharing.
Thoreau said it best: simplicity, simplicity, simplicity.
Kath, this is why you're on my friends list.
For me, that's what Christmas is about.
Yes, this is what it should be about -- making time for what's truly important, or as you more eloquently said, doing less and loving more. I like your take on this a lot.
Thanks everyone for stopping by my naked little Christmas post.