Sorry for the intermittent posting this past week. I have been a bit overwhelmed with the holiday season. Or my lack of being able to enjoy the holiday season. I’ve been so swamped with work and social commitments, that I almost forgot that it’s Christmas. Until yesterday.
I work right in Rockefeller Center, that’s the 47th -50th street stop on the F line, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, for you non locals. It’s Ground Zero for Christmas in New York. Sixth Avenue is decorated in holiday garb, and all of the office buildings have oversize holiday displays in their lobbies. I walk past a two story high pyramid of round ornaments stacked in a waterfall around 49th street on my way to get lunch. The Salvation Army jingle bell ringers are out in full force. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular draws a crowd every day. And the tree, the illustrious Rock Center tree, pictured above, is in the middle of it all. Well, so is Saks. But really, the tree is the main holiday attraction.
Over the past week, I’ve rushed from meeting to office, filed stories on frantic deadline, and shuffled home exhausted at the end of the day. I fell asleep on the train. I didn’t see many young kids. Not one Santa. There’s no snow here yet. No reminders of the holidays.
Yesterday, I rushed to the gym before work and was walking fast enough to break a sweat. I took the most efficient route from the train on the south west side of Rock Center to the north east corner, where the gym is located. I breezed past tourists carrying their Starbucks holiday cups and rode up the escalator towards the lobby. And then, I saw it. The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.
And then I stopped.
Then I saw hundreds of other tourists looking up at the tree. Smiling. Holding children on their shoulders. Posing for selfies. Asking security guards when, or if, Mariah Carey would come out and sing a carol or two (that was Wednesday night, people. I think she only does the gig once a season.)
I took a breath and looked at that tree. How pretty. How twinkly. I took out my phone, and took a few photos. And finally, in that moment, I felt it. The holiday spirit.
I smiled. When was the last time I smiled at something pretty? Three days ago?
It felt good. I continued walking to the gym, but I walked slower. I took deeper breaths. I smelled the pine in the air and listened to the jingle bells from those Salvation Army volunteers.
I still have deadlines and work to deal with. But I have officially, mentally, kicked off the holiday season. Bring on the peppermint mocha flavored coffee drinks. Time to dig out those Christmas pajamas from my closet and add Christmas carols to my Spotify playlist. And, most importantly, it’s Christmas cookie baking time. Where are my tree shaped cookie cutters?
It’s time to slow down and enjoy the holiday spirit. It only lasts a month. 35 days at best if you get a head start on the festivities. Yes, pumpkin spice season is twice as long as peppermint mocha season. No, life is not fair. Nevertheless, it’s important to savor each day.