'Twasn't the Season

This year, my heart didn't twinkle with Christmas charm all December like it usually does.  Maybe it was the tepid weather in New York.  Or maybe it was the fact that I started celebrating Christmas in October this year.  I think it's probably the second one.  I guess this one's on me.

It all started in Vermont.  I played a few shows in Burlington, VT this October, and my mother (who is tied with me for Most Enthusiastic Christmas-er of All Time) met me up there for a fun girls weekend.  We explored the shores of Lake Champlain and the restaurants of downtown, but it was on our way out of town that we made the most wondrous and dangerous discovery of the weekend: The Christmas Loft.

The Christmas Loft is an unassuming, windowless Christmas haven, tossed casually on the side of Route 7.  It's a blip on the road and you would miss it entirely if you didn't have special elf radar that my mother and I, thankfully, possess.  And that would be a shame.  Because, listen up Charlie Brown, this place is what Christmas is all about.

It's composed of twelve rooms (if I'm remembering correctly), each with it's own theme, and they all open out into a beautiful enchanted village, modeled after Shelburne, VT.  My mother and I found this place accidentally when we drove too far down the highway in search of a place to grab lunch before heading home.  We were actually excited when we finally found the restaurant and discovered it didn't open for another forty minutes.  So.. back down Route 7 we sped, until we were wide-eyed and giddy at The Christmas Loft.

We spent forty minutes there, left to gobble down a quick lunch, and then raced back to spend several more hours wandering the replica streets of Shelburne, VT.  Like I said.. we really like Christmas.  Three hours later, we bought an ornament, a puzzle, and some Christmas cards.  Partly because we couldn't live without them, and partly because we felt like we needed to pay admission for our day at the Christmas fair.

Finally we reluctantly parted with this holiday sanctuary, and drove to our respective homes, listening to Christmas music the whole way.  Without an invite, Christmas had shown up at our doors, and who were we to send it away?  

One week later I found myself back up north; physically in Massachusetts, mentally in the North Pole.  It was Halloween, and I had scheduled my tour so I could be in my hometown, passing out candy with my mother on Halloween night.  Because it sounded like fun.  And also because the thought of finding a costume to wear while performing a Halloween show seemed daunting.  So there we were, passing out candy on October 31st, blasting Christmas music.  The children were very confused.

November arrived with a chill and I went to every Christmas fair and every restaurant that was decorated with lights, whether they were Christmas-related or not.  I did my Christmas shopping and drank gingerbread lattes.  Then December came, the weather warmed, and I was wrung dry of Christmas cheer.  I couldn't figure out what was going on with me.  It had to be the weather!  I was so angry, blaming the elements for how I was feeling that I didn't even notice that this was entirely my fault.  I did this.  I celebrated Christmas even before CVS dared to put out the Santa candy.  That's too early.

Lesson learned.  Next October you will find me eating candy corn and listening to the Monster Mash on repeat.  But it wasn't a total bust.  Christmas Eve arrived with all its shimmer, as did Christmas day, and I was reignited with Christmas cheer.  And I thank the power of the ritual for that.  Because I believe if you enter into a ritual, most of the time your body and spirit will go where they're supposed to go.  If you surround yourself with family, good food, good music, and maybe a few gifts, Christmas is bound to show up... this time, invited.

Now it's New Years Eve, and speaking of rituals, I love this one.  For me it's a day to reflect on the past year, and set goals for the new year.  It's a time to literally clear out anything that isn't constructively adding to my life, and replace it with room-to-grow.  I love this ritual it so much, I do it four times a year.  (Also, a year is too long to go without a reset for those of us who quickly fill up our room-to-grow with unnecessary crap).  So happy First Quarter's Eve everyone!*  May it be a beautiful quarter, filled with love, laughter, and seasonally appropriate celebrations.

Love Love Love,
*It's a working title.

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