Oh no, where am I going to put my Christmas tree this year? This question occurred to me a few days ago, while eating lunch with a friend. I thought about it for a moment, while my friend curiously looked at me. I needed to explain. I told her that our front room, where I normally put the Christmas tree and other holiday decorations had been converted into a dance/work out area when gyms and in-person classes were cancelled at the start of the pandemic. A redecorating decision that did not thrill me. The gym scene is not attractive and it does not feel inviting, but I quickly realized that the guests I would normally entertain, would not be arriving anytime soon. I have come to love the transformed space that is now a musical movement sanctuary where I dance and connect with other dancers around the country and occasionally, the world, through either Zoom or Skype.
Back to my holiday dilemma … where to put the Christmas tree? Either forego the tree (No! Never!) or move the gym equipment and padded floor tiles out of that room and give the tree its space to shine (haha). Neither of those options were appealing to me. I put my thoughts aside and told my friend I would sort it out after Thanksgiving, which is when I normally decorate. It is now after Thanksgiving and I have reached an important life decision (haha); I am leaving our dance/gym area as-is and I am going to fit an unTraditional tree in a small space near the front window. Traditionally, I love to lay under the blinking tree lights that extend to the ceiling while I listen to holiday music and drink a hot tea. The lights and ornaments on my traditional tree light up both my space and my heart. Any other year, this decision would have delivered disappointment, but this is not a normal year and I am not disappointed. I am grateful. Being able to move in my space and connect with other dancers moving in their space, has brought me many gifts since April and I will continue to appreciate and connect with my moving communities. I might not feel like a child when I sit next to a tree that is smaller than me, but I still hope to experience joy and wonder.
Unbelievably, we are approaching the end of 2020. We have checked off many holidays since the pandemic began and each of us, wherever we live, have had to adapt to not only adjusted holidays, but to adjusted every days. We have had to add mask wearing to our daily routine while also letting go of many plans and traditions, and maybe the stress attached to overscheduled schedules too. Letting go of my tradition of dressing up and passing out treats to costume-wearing candy collectors during my Halloween unSeen delivered full moon delights. Letting go of my holiday tradition of decorating and admiring a tall blinking tree in exchange for another type of sacred space is an easy ask. Letting go of traditions and expectations of how things should be has been difficult at times, but overall, I am a lighter and freer version of my pre-pandemic self.
In less than four weeks, during Christmas morning, I will be starting a new holiday tradition: I will be dancing instead of sitting next to a tall tree. I suspect it will be a joyful tradition I will choose to continue. Hopefully, next year my daughter, who will not be traveling in four weeks, can join me in that unTraditional dance, wherever we might be, with or without a tree.
Connecting with those who make me smile is more important than any decorating tradition. 💕 This young man does that! My brother’s son, Justin – the one who first gave me the title of Aunt – is in town for a few days. I have missed laughing with him. He is catching up with me in years, but he will always be that boy with the big heart who makes me smile and laugh. 😄 Be well, Michele
Photo 1: Freebirds along the Gila River, AZ, taken by me Photo 2: Painting (acrylic on wood) of Dancing Lady that hangs in my dancing space, painted by my daughter, Sammi Lee (Christmas gift 2015)
© 2020-2021 Michele Lee Sefton.