I would have finished possibly three elementary school Christmas concerts at the three different schools where I was the music teacher. I would have started collecting songs and preparing the script for the concerts, adpated to the students special skills and talents, much earlier, in September. The teaching of the songs, committed to memory, would begin early in October and once learned, the songs would be rehearsed practicing the moving required. Costumes would be chosen and instructions sent home with the kids. Some kids would not have a costume, so I would have to ensure there were extras around to make up for that. A few kids would be removed for religious or non religious reasons and a few more for early holiday trips. True rehearsals would involve the entire elementary school, as I often also taught songs and carols to the kids not on my case load schedule so there were included.
Finally the big days would arrive. Some schools would not have evening concerts, while others wanted exclusively evening venues. My time was not important to them, though they were appreciative and grateful when the parents commended the principal on the fine concerts. Letters came in the mail extolling the virtues of the concerts, mostly from attending grandparents and sometimes, the newspapers would attend and do a feature. One of my inner city schools had a huge Asian population and the music these children created was special. In my last years, I was able to have an orchestra, not a band, with experts in violin, cello, string bass and piano, plus a few brass virtuosos.
At home, I would have been busy baking for the upcoming two important days. Friends and family would come for a traditional meatless Ukrainian Christmas eve supper with perogies, cabbage rolls, nelisniki, wheat and so much more. On Christmas Day, family and a few close friends would come again for a lavish turkey dinner. Usually the preparation and clean up was entirely on my shoulders, that is until my daughter got old enough to offer her help. Occasionally she shamed the boys into giving her a hand, though we all knew they considered that women's work, though that idea is one that did not originate with me, since I was a single parent for most of the children's lives and all work, inside and out, was my work.
The various businesses that I owned were always closed from Christmas Eve to the day after Boxing Day, so there was a respite there. I would open a few day in between Christmas and New Year's and work in the business and also go there after school for most days as well. Some ventures, such as interior design and being a florist, had me working long hours into the evenings. I still found time to craft and create at home, making home made soaps, lotions, and other various body products, floral arrangements and I would sew sometimes grand projects for my family.
On Boxing Day, family may or may not have come by for more feasting. By this time, I would be feeling the drain of the holidays and would be glad to go to work in my business where I could tie up loose ends before the new year.
Now, compare this to the quaint, quiet and mundane existence here on the farm, where I go to do chores for three or four hours a day, and have the remainder of the day to play with wool , or make soap or write, read and play the piano and sing. I have made some friends here, not many, but this year, for the first time, am invited to other's celebrations on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. My son whom lives with me is away at camp working so the others with families can be home. The youngest son is spending Christmas with his partner's family and my daughter will come after Christmas, just before going to Australia for three years. The farm will be quiet and peaceful.
And the farm is where my heart is, here with my big dogs, the sheep and goats and the other critters. I lovingly attend to their needs daily, enjoying the pristine air and silence of the forest surrounding me. There is no need to struggle with 450 children, their parents and 100 teachers, to coodinate schedules, to accept orders and returns, to go shop, well, there is no urgency to do anything. I like that. I love it.
Have a very blessed day, whatever it means to you. May you find it in your heart to see the beauty in all, to love what you cannot understand and cherish what you can, to face the New Year with anticipation as a tiny child would seeing a birthday cake with his name on it. May this holiday season bring you the peace and joy I possess in my heart and may you love and be loved. Merry Christmas!