Remember the scene in When Harry Met Sally when Meg Ryan struggles to drag her Christmas tree down the sidewalks of New York? Or in While You Were Sleeping when Sandra Bullock’s character pulls a Christmas tree tied by a rope up to her apartment window several stories high In her big robe and fuzzy slippers, with her cat by her side, she braces herself against the couch and says, “I shoulda gotten a bruce spruce fir… they’re much lighter.”
Or you may relate to the experience of one of our 4word Portland girls, Katie Reiff, trying to wrangle her own Christmas tree:
Being single at Christmas can bring loads of emotion. Even if you have lots of family, it can still hurt; in your heart, you want to share the holidays with someone special. And if you don’t have family nearby or your friends have returned to their home towns, you may feel all the more lonely, as it just seems so quiet in the house.
What I love about those movie scenes is that these characters — though they were alone at the time — were determined to celebrate Christmas, even if it meant dragging a tree by themselves all the way home. There is grace and strength in that determination. It always makes me smile to watch, because I know it is certainly the easier option to just hunker down and wait for the season to be over. It’s just not the same if you’re not with someone special, right?
I really think that’s a mistake.
This season comes just once each year, and it’s meant for all of us to enjoy. It will be gone soon. Being alone or lonely is a situation you may be in right now, but it is just that: a temporary situation. It’s certainly not anything that defines you.
While we may wish it were different, right now, this is what it is. We can plan to move forward and change our circumstances in the future (and they have every possibility of changing), but our life is right now. All we have is the present, and I really believe we are always to embrace this precious present, no matter what the circumstances.
So what does that mean? First, be happy for those around you who are celebrating with lots of loved ones and/or are in relationships, enjoying boyfriends, family, etc. There is room for your life to be all that you dream for it to become. Know there is hope for change and open your heart for that change in your future. Share their joy. One day they will be sharing yours.
When I was little, my mom sang the same song to me each night as she tucked me into bed, “Count your blessings. Name them one by one. Count your blessings. See what God has done.” I’ve learned over the years that those simple words, when lived, carry the keys to joy. “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be,” and our minds are powerful instruments in steering our spirits. Focus on the blessings that you do have, don’t dwell on what’s missing. There will always be some of both, so make a conscious choice to dwell on the good.
If you haven’t enjoyed this season to its fullest yet, I’d like to recommend making sure you do before it zips on by. Seen the Christmas lights around your neighborhood? Well grab somebody (a neighbor, friends or even your dog) bring some hot chocolate (if you get it from Starbucks, I also highly recommend the peppermint cake balls), put on some Christmas music and go see the lights!
Embrace it; enjoy it. This season is beautiful, and those lights are up for you to enjoy! Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while and, even if you have to leave a message, tell her you miss her and wish her a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Know that your circumstances can change in an instant – embrace where you are right now.