Tag Archives: Epiphany


January. I don’t have much use for it; hate it, really.

January is a dark and cold reminder that we’ve eaten too much, drunk too much, spent too much, perhaps slept too little, for way too long. Boom. The scale. The credit card bills. Dry, cracking, pasty skin. Freezing pipes.

Every January I’d like to turn myself inside out and hide until the first crocus peeps through the thawing ground.

Not today.

Call me nuts, but today I added about 20 Christmas cards, which have trickled in over the last two weeks, to our sprawling display. Every year I use nearly two full rolls of masking tape to affix incoming cards to the molding around the doorways in our home. One hundred seven in all this year–so far.

Today it hit me. One hundred seven people or families expressed their love and good wishes – to us!

One hundred seven people went to the time and expense to buy or hand-make cards. Some signed their names or wrote lengthy personal notes. Some even addressed envelopes. They spent 46 cents apiece for stamps. They went to the mailbox. To wish us a merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year.

Today, in the frigid darkness of the month I despise, I counted 107 expressions of good wishes. And, as I counted these blessings, I saw light. I felt warmth.

In the rush of opening the mail, we can forget that there is meaning in the wishes that honor the holy event we celebrate in December, and there’s immeasurable hope in the wishes for a happy and healthy new year.

Fellow January-haters: Let us thumb our noses at seasonal affective disorder by re-reading our Christmas cards (if they haven’t already gone out with our dried out evergreens) or remembering at least one person who wished us well, and appreciate how much we are loved.

And let there be light.


Filed under Hearth and Home, Holidays


This weekend the last of the Christmas decorations will likely come down at my house. Or, more accurately, go up—to the attic.

We dragged our spruce skeleton out before New Year’s. I am guessing it was cut down around August.

The crèche should have been put away on Thursday, which was Epiphany. We’ll just say the Magi extended their trip, but they’ll head back to their Orient in the attic this afternoon. Most everything else is packed up. I hate the see the mantel garlands go, they’re so pretty, but they too will be gone soon.

The last to go will be the Christmas cards that we affix to the molding in our living room—primarily that which frames an alcove where the tree goes. The remainder of the cards spill over into doorways and such. Taking down 180-some cards will be time-consuming and bittersweet, because we’ll re-read each one, take a moment to remember each friend and look at pictures of kids we seldom see.

There are several other items that stay up all year. We don’t necessarily consider them Christmas decorations, but people tend to ask mid-year why we still have Christmas decorations out. The truth is, well, I don’t know what the truth is.

Over the years, our kitchen has developed a chili pepper theme, and there’s an iron chili pepper wall hanging that says Feliz Navidad. It’s been hanging for 20 years, as much for the peppers as for the Navidad. There’s a carved wood statue of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus; it lives on the dining room mantel year-round. There’s a collectible Byers’ choice caroler that the family of one of my hospice patients gave me. She has a special place on a little shelf and deserves to stay out of the attic. Because our dining room is red, there are all sorts of adornments—candle holders, berry wreaths, red glass bowls and such—that could be considered Christmasy. Maybe we’ve just forgotten to put them away, or perhaps no longer even see them.

Are there knickknacks in your home that you can’t quite explain?


Filed under Family and Friends, Hearth and Home, Holidays