A Letter to December





Ah, Dear Friend,

We know each other well, do we not? So many years of immersion in all the folderol and all the richness of your seasonal gifts. Shall I list the ways?

  • the wedding plans, midway through my senior year of college
  • and all the subsequent anniversaries that got lost in the shuffle, some years more seriously than others — and there have been a lot of years, haven’t there? 48 on the 18th
  • a beautiful baby girl, 2nd of 2, born on the 2nd, with big brown eyes and a deliciously feisty spirit
  • choral concerts up the wazoo, every Christmas for most of my years until . . .
  • we moved to Santa Barbara for me to take a pastoral position in a church without a choir. Go figure.
  • writing Advent invitations for worship for about 20 years
  • preaching one Sunday in Advent for about 20 years, too
  • decorating the house with W-A-A-A-Y too many Christmas decorations, collected over the decades, starting with homemade delights from each of the kids and this year, adding some special ornaments from our moms’ collections
  • sweating (and swearing) our way to a steady, straight fresh tree in front of the windows; it gets harder every dang year
  • enjoying nativity sets collected from round the globe
  • singing the songs
  • reading the scriptures
  • pondering the mystery
  • regretting the over-spending
  • enjoying the gift-giving
  • collapsing on the 26th, exhausted but generally, more than content

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with you, I must admit. The candlelit service on Christmas Eve gets me every time. But the lugging of bins, the setting up the stuff, the overkill with gifts — yeah, that has gone above and beyond what is needful and what is healthy at points. 

So, December, what’s it gonna be? Will we find our way to a happy medium this year? Just enough of the good stuff and a little less of the not-so-good?

I pledge to do my part. Can you say the same?



This post is written in response to a prompt from Elora Nicole at her fabulous Story Sessions site. If you would like a series of thoughtful, evocative writing invitations, if you would enjoy being connected with a smaller (but ever-growing) group of other writers, may I suggest you check this site out? Just click here to read all about it.

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  1. A delightful outcome from this writing prompt! 🙂

    I’ve long since put aside the stress-builders in favour of savouring the Christmas season. I guess that’s a result of getting too old to want to expend my limited energy in unfruitful ways. lol.

    • Age definitely changes things. I’ll do the decorating – eventually, but probably not quite as much as usual! We’ll have some of the family for Christmas Eve dinner, I think and go to my daughter’s on Christmas Day.

  2. Oh, Diana. I hear you. I’ve never had the kind of schedule that you’ve kept, but I still try to fit in too much and it takes away from savoring the best. And just this week I was remembering the time when life had slowed my mother down to a near halt, and had I not visited her, she would not have put up a tree or decorated at all. My daughter accuses me of being OCD about the holidays. The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, I made a list of all that I wanted accomplished before Thursday when everyone would be here, to which Emily responded, “We’re the Griswolds, mom…not the Rockwells!”

    • Oh, yeah, we’re SO Griswolds over Rockwells. What a great line! Thanks for coming by, Patricia. My daughters have inherited this craziness (how could they miss it?) and they both do such a good job of decorating and cooking and the whole shebang! Right now, I’m searching for the bin of Christmas stuff that belongs to my mom so that I can cozy up her room a little this week. I know it’s here SOMEWHERE.

  3. December is a month to love. Advent, family time, special music, special food. And taking just a bite at a time.

    I think my perspective has changed since moving far away from family, and living in another country. A lot of the “have-to’s” have been eliminated because I’m simply not where most of my people are.

    I can choose where I devote my time, and the pressure to live up to others expectations are just not there.

    And when I *AM* with my family, whether it’s Christmas time or not, I think it’s easier to focus on what is really important to us. Mainly: having fun, remembering traditions, and of course, good food!

    By the way, I love the photos of your decorations 🙂

    • I think you’re right on, Susan – great choices, some of them caused by your move, I am sure. Thanks for stopping by – good to see you!!

  4. I love so much that you used the word folderol!
    My husband and I are celebrating 9 years on the 12th. They went by quickly. A Christmastime wedding is so lovely, though, don’t you think? Happy anniversary to you guys!
    I love your photos. Your place looks cozy and inviting. Hope your entire December is a blessed one. 🙂

    • Congrats on that anniversary, Jamie. And yes, Christmas weddings are lovely, and despite the complications of holiday activities, we have thoroughly enjoyed it. May your Advent be blessed, too.

  5. Gwen Acres says

    Loved seeing your home decorated for Christmas, Diana! It looks so welcoming and warm. But it is the people, your people who fill it with joy. You are blessed to have them close!

    • I am blessed to have them close, Gwen – and very grateful. My home this year is a long ways from looking like these pictures, which were taken last year. Maybe we’ll get there again. . . and maybe we won’t!

  6. I loved learning a new word from this post!

    fol·de·rol – trivial or nonsensical fuss.
    “all the folderol of the athletic contests and the cheerleaders”

    Thanks for giving me a peek into your life. 🙂

  7. I gave up fresh trees many years ago … because of my husband’s hatred for the sweating and swearing. 🙂

    Happy December.


    • I’ll let you in a little secret. This year, I think we’ll pay someone to bring it into our home and set the dang thing up!! YOu always make me smile, Glenda. Thank you.

  8. I love this. My husband and I will celebrate 9 years on the 18th. 🙂 I well remember those December wedding plans.

    • Congratulations, Lindsay!! The 18th is a good day – a little crazy-making, but good. I’ve never been sorry, even though it often gets squeezed out by the hubbub.