“Oh, What Fun…”
Christmas season is a big time celebration in the Morton house. Three of us (first Chuck, then Bell, then Courtney) all have December birthdays, in addition to celebrating Christmas throughout December in as much and as many ways as we can. The senses stand out for us in these ways:
Sight – We always plug in our Christmas tree first thing in the morning and leave it plugged in all day, even if we just have a few minutes to enjoy it while slamming cereal before rushing out the door to school and work. It starts the day in a festive way and is great to come home to. We love to look at lights on other houses as we are driving around town to get to different activities and also enjoy seeing Santa wherever he shows up.
Smell – We love holiday scents like gingerbread, cinnamon, pumpkin, and cloves. In recent years, we make a stovetop potpourri that is a recipe from an old friend’s mom who passed away a few years ago. Making the potpourri and having it simmering on the stove makes us think of her and decades of friendship. We have spent Christmas in Colorado in the past as a family and remember the smell of the pine trees when we picked one to cut in a fresh snow. Chad also commented on the smell of the credit card on fire as he is trying to handle 3 birthdays and Christmas in a 3 week span!
Sounds – Courtney enjoys bugging the family by playing the “Christmas Jazz” holiday station as much as possible in the evenings. If she gets to the speaker first, you can guess what will be playing throughout the month of December. Jingle bells, “Ho ho ho,” and Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” are also big time players during the holiday season.
Touch – Smooth wrapping paper, soft blankets, hanging ornaments on tree branches, stirring batter while baking, sealing Christmas cards, snuggling on the couch watching a holiday movie, hugging relatives we haven’t seen in a while, trying to attach a Christmas bow to our pets… there is lots to feel!
Taste – Umm, yes, it is well known that November and December are the best months of eating in the entire year. In fact, a few years ago on Christmas Eve, we were in the midst of our pre-meal prayer, about to enjoy a delicious Mexican meal, when the picnic table we were sitting on collapsed. I guess we had gotten our fill that year! We always make pigs in a blanket on Christmas morning and can’t talk about Christmas food without mentioning Mimi’s Mac and cheese and the birthday cakes she makes for us each year.
Engaging with our senses during the Christmas season orients us in the moment and can act as an anchor to being present in a Holy time. It also can be a reminder of all the sensory inputs that Mary and Joseph had in the barn the night Jesus was born – crisp hay, the pain of the birth, hearing the baby’s first cries, holding his warm body, feeding him for the first time… We wonder how they imagined his big life playing out in those first moments. May you enjoy all of your senses, in all their fullness, this holiday season!
By Chad, Courtney, Bell and Chuck Morton