On December 26 it was as though a wind had come through Manhattan and blown most of the remnants of Christmas away. I realize that was only the second day of Christmas, but Valentines now were placed where Christmas cards had been. I realized I needed to hustle to find Christmas cards for next year.
On the afternoon of December 25 this was all that remained of my beloved Christmas tree stands in the neighborhood.
This led me to think about what I learned from this season, and surprisingly it was a lot. I sometimes think that this aging dog can't learn new tricks, but happily there are still new tricks to learn. In no special order -- and with random Christmas pictures -- here are six things I've learned this year.
1) I am not crafty and it's not likely that I ever will be. My goal was to make cards this year and I bought the supplies in October. They are still on my craft shelf and I used the cards I had on hand. I had more than enough time, but I really had little interest. Next year I won't even kid myself that I will be making cards and I have already bought my cards for next year.
The Municipal Building, Manhattan, decorated for the season
2) I like to start my shopping early and have it finished early. With a few exceptions I bought everything by December 1, and a number of things over the summer while I was in Ireland. I did misplace one ornament -- I am hoping it turns up for next year -- but it saved a lot of time and I had a great time picking out gifts in fun places. My big trip for this year is in April and I hope to do some shopping while I'm away.
I especially liked the mix of orchids and Christmas greenery at this florist in Chinatown.
3) Not unlike the last thirty -- maybe forty -- years I did not get out all of my cards before Christmas, and I couldn't face seasonal cards on December 26. Happily there is still a nice assortment of New Year cards and I've enjoyed writing notes in a very leisurely way the last few days. I've got a few more to go and I'm enjoying corresponding a lot.
One of my favorite scenes at the Union Square Holiday Market
4) Inventory, inventory, inventory. I've been putting away cards and the remnants of wrapping paper and making notes about what I need. I'm on the lookout for tags and one nice roll of paper and I'm going to discard/donate things that have sat on the bottom of the holiday bags for years unused.
5) Since retiring my life is very different and my life at Christmas is no exception. During my working life there was a lot going on and I had many obligations. Some of these obligations were also fun, but most weren't very much fun. Now I have very few things that I consider to be obligations and the things I've been doing in the last month have been fun, a lot of fun. I've made up for all the years of office obligations and I've been able to enjoy some of my favorite places in New York this year.
The Annunciation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
6) No doubt about it, I love this season and I've loved sharing it. This has been a wonderful December and I am so grateful for friends throughout the world to enjoy it with. Thank you for cards, notes, emails and comments. You all contributed to making this a wonderful Christmas time.
I'm going to savor the snowmen and Socko and Pepe in his Father Christmas outfit for just a few more days. Then they will go back to their regular homes until next year. But I will keep the memories in my heart for a long time to come.
As always, thanks for visiting and take good care.