My Christmas Wish

 

If a Christmas fairy existed, and could grant a Christmas wish, what would your wish be? A wish I think I would enjoy having granted, and a purely selfish one too I might add, would be to pack my bags on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving with the destination of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, awaiting, and not to return until January 2, 2005. Of the places Iíve traveled to, Myrtle Beach is my very favorite. I have some happy memories of trips taken there.

My sister, Sue, a friend, Joan, and myself have taken annual trips there for many years. The object of the those trips is to just relax, watch the ocean, in between people watching and lots and lots of laughter. In years gone by, shopping eventually became something that wasnít too high on our list of priorities, so after a year or so, we learned to shop only when it absolutely necessary, and then only for necessities. We did do some sight seeing in the area, traveling to nearby Conway, South Carolina, which was lots of fun, and a very interesting little town. The place we really came to develop a love for was Georgetown, South Carolina, an easy drive from Myrtle Beach. Georgetown, a very old established area with lots of older Victorian homes, has a lot of quaint little shops to browse around in, and some really good restaurants too. During one of our visits to Georgetown, we took a open air bus tour of the town that included homes, churches, and other historical buildings. One of our favorite little shops in Georgetown was off on a side street, and even though I canít remember the name of the shop, the owner Iíll always remember. She was a very distinguished, elderly lady with an accent I could have sat and listened to all day, like that of a pure bred Charleston resident. She was a gracious southern lady. One of the things she and her daughter made and had for sale in the shop were wreaths out of the fruit of a native tree of South Carolina commonly known as the Popcorn tree. This type of tree grows everywhere in that area, kinda like the mimosa grows around here. The wreaths made from the fruit are beautiful and can be used all year long, not just for the Christmas holidays. Growing right next to her shop were several young popcorn trees, and she very kindly suggested that we try digging one a-piece to take back home with us. We did, but none of us were successful in getting the trees to live after being transplanted into Tennessee soil. Going back to see if she is still there in her little shop would be first on my list of things to do if I were granted my Christmas wish.

My reason for having a departure date on the day before Thanksgiving and not to return until the holidays were completely over is that Iíve decided the way we celebrate the holidays needs to change. All the worry and sometimes excessive spending for buying unneeded gifts, all the cooking and preparation, the work involved in Christmas decorations which are not so bad going up, but taking down is a different story, and all the stress we put ourselves through I donít believe is a meaningful way to spend the holidays. I would just like one year, just as an experiment, to leave all that behind and to see how I felt after having spent a little over a month with the ocean always in view, the feeling the sand between my toes on days that were warm enough to take a walk barefoot on the beach, and just being in a different environment that length of time.

I wonder how Iíd feel about treating Thanksgiving and Christmas as just another day. Thatís how Edna Reeser described the way she was raised. She told me her grandmother was criticized one Thanksgiving for doing her washing on that holiday. Her grandmotherís curt reply to the neighbor who voiced this criticism was, "Well, Iím just thankful Iím able to do my washing!"

Also in our trying to create happy holidays for ourselves and others, we often exchange cheery greeting, shop for just the right gifts for everyone on our list, plan get-togethers with those we care about, prepare and share bountiful meals, but exactly what does it all mean? Everyone who has a hand in getting ready for these holidays is worn out from all the work and effort, and breaths a big sigh of relief when these events are finally over with. So little Christmas fairy, if youíre out there somewhere, letís try a different approach this year. I, for one, am wide open to any suggestions for better ways to deal with it all, and if a trip to Myrtle Beach to escape fits in, and proves to be everything I think it would, much to my familyís dismay, I would probably nail the door shut on the great big closet full of nothing but Christmas decorations Iíve accumulated over the years. Then, on the other hand, I might decide that old saying "Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it" is something I should never had forgotten in the first place.

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