Friday, December 21, 2012

Peace and Joy

Over the past few years, my Christmases have become more and more simple.  I buy gifts for only two people - my daughter and my mom;  the rest of my family and friends I remember through donations to charity, or celebrate with them through joint activities, or share a little tin of my homemade Christmas speciality- Cheese Crispies - and a wee nip of something.  I don't travel, I don't host big dinners, I don't sweat the small stuff.  A few favourite decorations, a few special treats to eat and drink, and a look in the local paper to find out what might be fun to attend.

And from this I receive both peace and joy.   I get to experience the peace that comes from being able to step back and breathe deeply of the crisp morning air, from taking a stroll in a deserted park or on a beach, while others fight traffic and stress about gifts and max out their credit cards and hang around airports.

And I also get to experience the joy that comes from singing carols, watching parades, gazing at Christmas lights, sipping hot chocolate with friends, breaking bread that someone else has prepared.

Two weeks ago, my friend Else and I shared my homemade soup and her Christmas goodies then watched the Crofton parade from the end of my driveway.

Here they come!

Local businesses and groups brighten the town

Santa brings up the rear

Then I went over to a parking lot in the next block where Crofton's one and only church set up refreshments and where their live band led the community in carol singing.  Everyone and their dogs attended - though for some reason I didn't photograph any of the many dogs who were there.  I did, however, photograph children mesmerized by the lights and music (photographed with parents' permission for publication).

Montgomery gazes at the band
during the community sing-a-long

Kaylin, hands full of popcorn, watches the musicians

Ayla dances with her mom

This past week or so has been filled with joyous activities too, which I'll blog about over the next few days - a party that went to the dogs, a night time train ride through a forest of lights, a visit to family and friends on the mainland that ended with a sunset cruise (I posted some of those pics a few days ago, but have more to post from that trip).  Tonight Else and I are off to a pantomime, tomorrow I'm having a pre-Christmas turkey dinner at a neighbour's, Sunday I volunteer at the Chemainus Theatre presentation of The Gifts of the Magi.

I think it's a good thing I keep my Christmas simple - there's plenty to enjoy without shopping and baking and hosting big dinners.

Let others do the work - I'll reap the pleasure.


Black Jack's Carol said...

You are finding the very best of the season in your stunning captures of the wonder in children's faces, Jean. The sharing of good food and music with friends in a simple and stress-free way brings out the aspects of the season that I have always loved best. We are of one mind, I think. Peace and Joy to you and yours!

georgia little pea said...

I think that sounds like a perfect Christmas. We haven't done gifts in years and just do a family lunch (usually stressful enough LOL). We're winging it this year with my brother. The way I like it :). Your Christmas parade looks great. How nice of them to swing by your place. Have a great weekend Jean! X

Marie said...

I was delighted to see the pictures of the Crofton parade and of the lovely children, thanks so much. I totally agree with you in the pleasures of enjoying the true meaning of Christmas.
I wish you and your's and of course your four legged friends a Very Merry Christmas and all the best for 2013.

Anita said...

I'm with you Jean, and I love your photos and your blog.
Have a lovely Christmas and lots more happy times to come.
Look how many people get pleasure from your blog. I know I do.

Caroline said...

I think you have captured the true meaning of Christmas! It's about love, joy and cherishing all around you instead of running ragged at the mall!

Merry Christmas from us to you!