One thing I remember vividly from my childhood is my mother’s custom of having some seasonal ornamentation in the house. Forsythia or cherry blossoms in the spring, squash arrangements in the fall, paper-white narcissus flowers and evergreens for Christmas—not to mention her enormous, splendid collection of Christmas decorations.
I loved all this when I was growing up, but I find it hard to imitate. First, I’m cheap. Second, I hate to shop. Third, I’m not good at making arrangements.
But yesterday I forced myself to stop to buy some paper-whites, and I’m so happy I did. Our apartment seems so much more holidayish now, with that distinctive scent in the rooms. And although I’d been procrastinating for two weeks, when I finally decided to make the purchase, I just went to the flower shop on the corner of my street, picked up a box of paper-whites, paid, and left. It was laughably quick.
And appreciating the season also means taking time to enjoy its particular pleasures. Today, as I was walking by Eli’s on 80th and 3rd, I saw that they’d filled a huge display window with a scene made entirely of gingerbread. It was charming. My impulse was to hurry right by, but I made myself stop for a moment to enjoy it. In a few weeks, it will be gone, and this is the kind of thing that makes the holiday season fun.