Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Each Christmas.

Each Christmas, over the last few years, I contemplate not bothering with putting up a tree or adorning my home with all the decorations.  Those special moments of Christmas past, had become just a faded blur. Why bother with seasonal lights when nobody would come to see them?
And I went for a stroll in the heart of Leek.  I gazed at blue twinkling lights adorning the branches of two trees that stood beside the Nicholson War Memorial.  And on that cold snowy night, alone with my thoughts,  I realised that in actuality, I have much to be grateful for.  I got in my car.  I headed home.

I went into my living room and I suddenly found myself putting purple lights on my fake flower arrangement that sticks out the top of a big tub that looks like something a snake might come out of.  If you click on the photo it might give you a better idea.   It appeared that I might be giving in, yet again and would soon be merrily covering the house with pretty little lights and seasonal adornments.   Oh my.....

Before you could say, 'Merry Boxing Day Eve', I found that I had gone into some kind of Christmas trance and my living room was sort of transformed into some kind of magical wonderland.  Even Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star, was dazzled by the light display.  You may note her staring up at her 'Santa's Little Helper' bib she proudly wore in her previous posting.
And so, despite the probability that I will have no visitors, I realised that the soothing ambience, the gentleness of the scene, was giving me a sense of peace and tranquillity.   Yes, I have a son who may take a fleeting glimpse at the Christmas tree.  And yes, we have a dog that will provide us with much needed company.   So really, it aint so bad.  

I stared into the candle.  Found my thoughts absorbed in the warm, reassuring glow.  I thought about the gifts that have nothing to do with money.  Gifts that are truly priceless.  I am determined, more than ever before, that I will praise my son, bestow upon him the positive affirmations he craves within his heart.  I give him the gift of a smile.  And I wait for the smile to return to his face. I wait for the flickering glimmer of hope to return to the eyes of a sad young man.


  1. The spirit of Christmas - of love, of giving, of sharing, of joy - is alive and well at your place. I hope you, your son and Penny enjoy a fabulous holiday season. :)

  2. As long as you are alive there is always hope. Sometimes a broom needs to be put in use to sweep away the sadness and open up the good.

  3. Gary if I lived nearby hubby and I would be over in a flash with cookies and hot chocolate to admire your Christmas decorations... They look very very festive. Nice job. I'm sure it will lift your sons spirits to see it.

  4. Gary, I'm glad you took the trouble after all your doubts, and I'm glad that you shared it with us.

    Remember, even if no-one else visits, you and your son (and, of course, Penny TJRDAMIS) are worth taking the time and trouble to bring yourselves a bit of cheer. Never doubt yourself.

  5. Yay! Glad you're rallying to do the festivities! A little effort to cheer goes a long way. It looks so pretty, wish I was there to bring over some brownies and gaze at the lovely lights. And maybe make you laugh at my awful singing of carols, ;) Keep smiling, dear man.

  6. I havn't decorated for years. Your post might just be the inspiration I need.....

    Bert's My Vickie

  7. Dear Gary,
    Of course, I and all your other blogging pals are here to wish you some Christmas cheer. And, my own little festive adornments have been put up in my own home. Luckily, though, I will be visiting my brother's home come the fateful day.
    Indeed, you're not the only one who nearly didn't bother with Christmas lights this year. Due to the massive cuts invoked by our dear, beloved council, and indirectly, by central government, I believe only Hanley got any money this year to put up any festive decorations. So, the rest of the "six towns" have had to find funds of their own if they wnat to celebrate Christmas this year. How mean can you get? Scrooge has nothing on these people.
    Still, I'm glad you managed to muster up some yuletide positivity, and I hope you, Tristan and Penny have a great time together. Who knows, you could always invite yours truly over some time. Surely that would cheer you all up!
    Yours with Splendid Christmas Wishes,

  8. Good for you! It's not about decorating for others to see anyway, the whole point is to bring some light and cheer into your home for those who live in it. I think Penny is longing to wear the bib again;)
    Enjoy staring into the lighted tree, feeling the warmth of the season!

  9. Hello Gary:
    Of course Christmas is just one day in a whole year, and of course by putting decorations around the house does not, in any real sense, alter the state of the individual nor, indeed, that of the nation.

    But, in part, it is making the effort, over whatever, which matters and, we believe, it is in such ways, however small or insignificant, that we all continue to function as real people. And, in this particular instance, you have not only done this for yourself and your son, but also through this post you have reached into, and enriched, the lives of so many others which makes it a million times worthwhile.

    We wish you and your son a very peaceful Christmas and much hope for the New Year.

  10. It looks lovely, Gary - I didn't feel like doing any of it this year, but others did and I am glad for it. There is something heartening about all the twinkly lights. I wish you a very happy Christmas x

  11. I actually sat in the same boat as you, but ended up making the most beautiful Christmas tree in family history.

    I just realized, like you did, that the decorations aren't really for anyone else. They're for the people who live in the house.


  12. Hi Gary .. in recent years I haven't tended to do my own - but I've done them for my mother and my uncle - so I get slightly overdosed .. but they enjoy them. I've done less for my mother - but I put up a fun tree - some witch hazel branches with decorations .. and we have bulbs etc .. the Nursing Centre is decorated up. I made a small decoration for another younger bedridden patient ..

    It's lovely seeing them - and yours look quite delightful .. Penny certainly rests in quiet admiration at your prowess.

    Enjoy the positives of life - as you do .. with many thoughts for a peaceful, happy and inspiring future - with some laughter thrown in ..

    Happy Christmas and may 2012 bring you happier and easier days ahead with more smiles and joy .. with many thoughts - Hilary

  13. I love what drove you to put up your decorations! You've given Christmas its true meaning. I personally love Christmas in all its gaudiness and decorate my little sanctuary for myself and my cat. May you and your son and Penny have a most blessed Christmas! Take care

  14. Christmas can turn out to be a stressful time for anyone but your enlightened attitude will see you through I am sure.
    Relax and enjoy the peacefulness that surrounds you. Have a good one!
    Click here for Bazza’s Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

  15. Well done you! Marvellous to see your lovely home so bright and cheery! Happy Christmas!

  16. Ho ho ho Merry Christmas Gary & son & Penny. May it be the best ever!

  17. Your decorations look lovely. I hope you have a really good Christmas :-)

  18. Hi Gary;
    It's amazing what a little colored light and tinsel can do for the psyche. I'm proud of you for putting it together but more so about realizing that others are worse off. Depression is a very personal thing and it's hard to look out from the shadows. Good on you for embracing the light!!!

  19. We're twins or something. It's freaky nice. I decorated over a period of 3 days. I have my village homes along the windowsills. The tree's looking good. My fireplace is covered in old Christmas cards. I've baked a bit.

    I'm feeling the feeling, my dear friend, and it'll most likely be just DH and I, plus Garagee, Fluffy McDuffy and Pretty Boy. And frozen Cluculz Lake. But that's okay, because it's all about the peace inside one's heart. The knowing that blessings abound and as near as my computer, a wonderful world exists full of dear and honourable people like yourself. And Penny the Jack Russell and modest internet star--of course.

    Merry Christmas, Gary. I know this is a difficult time of year, but we're going to do just fine.

  20. Hi Jemi,
    Thanks Jemi and indeed it is. The message of this posting goes beyond the exchange of material goods. The gift of being here for each other is a gift so deeply profund.
    May you and your loved ones have a peaceful, positive holiday season :)
    In kindness, your friend, Gary

  21. Hi Ray,
    And hope is what we embrace with resilient passion. And from the despair comes those glimmers of better times. Times reflected in the warm glow of the Christmas lights.
    Peace and goodwill to you.

  22. Hi Delores,
    Why thank you and I have had you and your hubby's virtual presence in the wonderland that is my home.
    I do so wish that my son will embrace the magic that is on offer. And now, my friend, I shall enjoy some virtual cookies washed down with hot chocolate:)
    In peace and warm wishes, Gary

  23. Hi Ian,
    I'm glad I took the time to make a positive and glowing statement in my home.
    For sure, I'm blessed to have my son, who may be here for Christmas and of course, I have the non-judgemental affection of the lovely Penny the Jack Russell :)
    The main thing is I genuinely like who I am. That's a very good place to be.
    Cheers Ian and all the best to you and your family on beautiful Vancouver Island.

  24. Hi Austan,
    Yay indeed, dear Laura :) I'm doing my best to create a positive setting to try and bring a little bit of joy into the heart of my son.
    That's very nice of you. And I know, despite all you have endured, you continue to embrace hope and positivity.
    Ah yes, brownies and you gazing at the lovely lights. Go ahead, sing, sing to your heart's content. I will just smile and note your melodic tones as you delight us with the singing of carols :)
    I shall, most assuredly, keep smiling :) Warm wishes for a darned good Christmas, your way, Gary

  25. Hi Vickie,
    Wow, I do so hope you put up some seasonal decorations. No matter what, we can always find those special moments to find the joy of this time. And spread that joy to those who find this a most difficult time of the year.
    Blessings and peaceful thoughts to you Vickie and of course, to Bert :)
    In kindness, Gary

  26. Dear David,
    Why thank you, kind sir. You know how much the great blogging community means to me. And you know how grateful I am to you and all those who are kind enough to grace my site.
    I'm delighted you have adorned your home with the seasonal cheer. I wish you a most wonderful day at your brother's home.
    Oh my and the local council, thanks, in part, to central government funding cuts, have had to reduce the Christmas lighting. That is sad and I know, that children of all ages, find much wonder and awe in the twinkling splendour. Tis such a pity.
    Thanks David and yes, once again, I gave in to my 'bah humbug' thoughts and found myself slapping up lights and decorations all over the place.
    I know the lights almost fascinate Penny. And now I hope that the magic of the moment will be reflected in the eyes of my son.
    David, you know you are always welcome here. I could sneak you in in the middle of the night :) Seriously, we have discussed the chance of you visiting my home. I look forward to the day that becomes a reality.
    Merry Boxing Day Eve...sorry, Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.
    In kindness and good wishes, your way, Gary

  27. Hi Kim,
    Thanks and I totally agree with you. In fact, our communication has been an integral part of my inspiration. Indeed, it's not about who is or isn't coming to see the lights; it's about creating a peaceful and contented atmosphere within my home. This I am determined to do.
    Yes, Penny does seem to be yearning to wear that bib again. And what the heck, her little Santa's hat :)
    And as the soothing glow shines around my living room, I share with you the joy of hopeful times to come, for all of us.
    In peace and gratitude, your way, Gary

  28. Hello Jane and Lance,
    Thank you for your poignant and thoughtful comment. Of course, the adorning of my house with seasonal decorations is more of symbolic gesture and does create a modicum of comfort. If only such symbolism, regardless of belief systems, could be extended towards the betterment of the nation and all on our beleaguered planet.
    The effort that I have made and others have made, is a statement, in its own special way, that we can find moments of solace in such acts. I have attempted to create, for what it's worth, a calm and soothing environment for my son, our dog and thus, in a magical, uplifting way, for me.
    I'm truly heartened by your comment. You have embraced the ethos of my posting. We know that we can demonstrate the priceless gift that is the loving emotional power of humanity at its finest. I am grateful to you both.
    Thank you for your warm wishes. May you and all who have the pleasure of being a part of your lives, have a peaceful Christmas and a most positive 2012.
    With respect and admiration, your way, Gary

  29. Hi Teresa,
    Thank you and I'm enjoying staring at the lights :)
    There is something very reassuring about the Christmas lights. I'm glad you can see the decorations of your friends.
    And a happy Christmas to you x

  30. Hi Misha,
    Hey, that's really neat. That's inspiring to know you made the most beautiful Christmas tree in family history :)
    Ah yes, the decorations are firstly for those who live in the house. Even those who live alone can still admire the beauty of the twinkling lights. I know that has happened to me on occasion. Still, I'm grateful to have a nice home and that I can share the magic with my son and our beloved dog.
    In a wondrous way, through the connection of the internet, we all can share :)
    Magical wishes, your way, Gary

  31. During this season I enjoy riding and looking at the lights. I find myself praying for the people behind those lights. "Let the light bring them life."
    Your home is lovely. There will be those who ride past your home and feel peaceful. Bless you, friend.

  32. Hi Hilary,
    Despite you not setting up Christmas decorations in your home, what you do is the very epitome of the spirit of the season.
    To create such dazzling scenes for your mother, your uncle and your warm gestures to bring a bit more comfort for that younger bedridden patient, speaks huge volumes for the kind, caring and decent soul you truly are.
    And it was nice to know that the decorations seemed to meet with Penny's approval :)
    Indeed and just like you, my dear friend, I shall continue to embrace all the positives that life has to offer. I do my best to see the positive in even the most negative of situations.
    And a happy Christmas and a positive, peaceful 2012 to you and all those who have been touched by your kindness.
    With respect and some joyous laughter, your way, Gary

  33. Hi Old Kitty,
    Thanks Old Kitty and I know you understood the significance of me putting up the decorations :)
    The spirit of bestowing priceless gifts is what I truly desire.
    Okay, I admit I have a bit of a soft spot for all the gaudy decorations :) And I have seen your tree that will be of comfort to you and the adorable Charlie. Of course, Charlie may have thoughts of climbing up the tree....
    Thank you for your blessed wishes. Here's wishing you, Charlie and all your loved ones, a lovely Christmas.
    In peace and hope, Gary

  34. Hi bazza,
    Thanks, good friend. Oh yes, Christmas can be a stressful time and a difficult time to cope. I maintain an upbeat attitude that all will be okay.
    I shall absorb the peaceful ambience and realise just how good life can really be.
    Cheers bazza and may you and all your nearest and dearest, have a good one.
    With respect and goodwill, Gary

  35. Hi Carole,
    Thanks and it was good to share the experience of my bright and cheery home :)
    Happy Christmas to you, dear lady.
    Hugs, Gary

  36. Hi Madeleine,
    And a ho ho ho to you, dear friend :) Thanks for your kind wishes to us.
    May you have a wondrous and positive Christmas.
    In kindness, Gary

  37. Hi Kate,
    Thank you for that. We do so hope that you have a wonderful Christmas.
    With warm wishes, your way, Gary :)

  38. Hi Heather,
    My very dear friend, we both realise the therapeutic value that a few coloured lights here and a bit of tinsel there, can do for the mood :)
    Thanks Heather and at this poignant time in your life, I want you to know how proud and inspired I am by you. We both are immersed with gratitude for all we have. Indeed, we both reach out and show how much we care for those less fortunate than us.
    The thief that is depression will not steal the magic of this time. Like you, I embrace and feel the reassuring, gentle glow of the light.
    May this be a wonderful Christmas for you. You are strong and the strength of our friendship resonates within our words.
    In peace and hope for an even better future to you, to all of us, your friend, Gary

  39. Hi Joylene,
    We may well be twins. Of course, you're the good looking twin. And my oh my and wow. What a wondrous, enchanting scene you describe. It must be truly magical where you live. Right out of a Christmas card. And to make it perfect, you have baked! :)
    I reckon that sometimes it's nice to just be with a few very special folks and of course, your collection of furry friends.
    You are so right, dear lady. It's all about how you feel and if your heart beats with inner peace, than that's a powerful and beautiful outcome.
    I share the gratitude of knowing that on the other side of the computer screen is a kind and thoughtful world that is proving that we can all make a difference. We are all proving that there is still hope for humanity. I feel blessed to know a truly remarkable and genuine lady such as you, Joylene.
    Thanks Joylene and during this difficult time of the year, I send you a gift. The priceless and powerful gift of empathy.
    Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.
    With much respect and admiration, your way, Gary

  40. Hi Dixie,
    Thank, you dear friend and what beautiful, profound sentiments you share.
    Your comment is testimony to what I've always known about you. No matter what trials and tribulations life has thrown your way, you always find the time to wish the light immerse others with warmth and vibrancy.
    I do try to exude a positivity and a reassurance that all will be okay. And bless those who ride past my house and the twinkling lights that glow within and without.
    I so wish you a bright, peaceful and positive Christmas.
    With respect and gratitude, your way, Gary

  41. It sounds as though you are finding the positive in this season where a lot of folks fall into a deep depression for one reason or another. I'm among that group for reasons I've explained on the blog. I like your photos of your holiday set up along the windows and such. Penny looks comfy and the whole place looks cozy. That first photo, I wasn't quite sure what to make of it, but it looks cool.

    I've said it before that I have great admiration for you. You really try and succeed most of the time in your battle with depression. I, like you, have been extra effort in celebrating this usually dismal holiday season that was once my favorite out of all of them. I'm going out of my way to be chipper and help out with the festivities on behalf of my wife. She deserves that from me and, in the past, I haven't been as nice around her as I should during this time of year. I'm also doing it for myself. You are doing it, I think, for your son and yourself, regardless if anyone sees your tree and whatnot. That's the fight and strength in you, Gary. Keep it up and take care, man.

  42. Good for you Gary, for I have done the same thing. I will be alone for the holiday, but my place is decorated for me, and I love and enjoy it. All the best my dear friend, all the best to everyone in your household. If I lived by I would cook up such a dinner and bring it by and we would indulge in the most wonderful feast with all the trimmings! May the Good and Gracious Lord bless you....Later.....

  43. hi mr gary! wow! cool decorations! thanks for sharing. i could see pennys enjoying them. for sure christmas is all about love and youre way good at sharing that. :)
    ...hugs from lenny

  44. Merry Christmas Gary and Penny, the Jack Russell Terrier and modest Internet star!

    Hawk aka Brown Dog (and his Human too)

  45. Hi Kelly,
    I am indeed trying to find the positive in a time of the year that often can enhance depressive tendencies. As we know, the 'festive season' can be a very lonely time for many. Sometimes you can be lonely even when surrounded by friends and family. Such is the debilitating nature of depression.
    The bottom line is, despite the isolation that will occur for me during this season, I like who I am and I'm okay with my own company. That has got to be positive step forward.
    Thanks for liking the holiday photos from within my home. That first photo was the starting point of my determination that I would go home that cold and snowy night and put up some decorations.
    Thanks Kelly and you know I have the utmost respect for you as you battle and challenge your own depressive moments. You have an inspiration, a catalyst, indeed your good wife is one heck of a reason to make amends for any past low points during this season and have a jolly good time. My friend, I've no doubt she deserves it from you. In actuality, you owe it to yourself to realise what a decent fellow you are and that you shall embrace this time and look forward to a most uplifting 2012.
    And yes I'm doing it for my son and thus, with my determination that he has a darned good Christmas, then so shall I :) The tree and ornaments are symbolic of us enjoying the time, even if nobody visits.
    Take very good care of yourself and your loved ones, Kelly.
    A peaceful Christmas and a positive New Year to you and to all of us.
    In kindness, Gary

  46. Hi Manic Chef,
    Thank you and good for you, also. Despite your isolation, you have decided to make a magical, seasonal ambience within your home. That's wonderful and I know you will embrace the true spirit of the time.
    I shall have a virtual meal with you, my good friend.
    All the very best to you and may this be a lovely Christmas and a most positive 2012 :)
    With much respect and goodwill, your way, Gary

  47. Hey Lenny :)
    Thanks young buddy. Penny seems to really enjoy all the lights and decorations :)
    Christmas is about the priceless gift of love. So very true....
    Have an awesome Christmas, Lenny and a really neat 2012!
    Hugs from Mr. Gary and of course, Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star! :)

  48. Hey Hawk aka Brown Dog and his human too,
    Thanks y'all for your kind Christmas wishes.
    I, a mere human and Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star, wish you all the most magical Christmas :)

  49. I find it impossible to get in the holiday spirit unless I decorate the house. Happy holidays, Gary! And Penny, too

  50. Hi Nancy,
    Yes, it just doesn't seem the say without some seasonal decorations.
    Thanks for the holiday wishes and Penny thanks you :)
    Have a great Christmas.
    In kindness, Gary

  51. May you and your son enjoy the Happiest Christmas and the Brightest new year ever! My Best

    Thank you for such uplifting wishes.
    Henry, here's hoping you and your loved ones had a lovely Christmas and may 2012 fill you with joy and contentment.
    In kindness and respect, Gary


I do try to comment back to each commenter individually. However, I might have to shorten my replies or give a group thank you. That way, I can spend more time commenting on your blogs. Thank you and peace, my friend.