It’s become clearer to me that I, like countless others, struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The doldrums begin to get a grip on me in October and by Christmas things start to feel hopeless though there are bright spots and breakthroughs along the way. Yesterday I struggled through the day. Not one Christmas gift had I purchased. Not even candy for a stocking. “Pick a movie,” my husband prodded. So I did. On the way out of the apartment, I reached into my jewelry box for my Christmas glitz ring (from a treasured colleague and friend) and popped it on in an effort to be festive. We sat in a new movie theater watching Up in the Air, surrounded by other people our age with children perhaps far away—their times of anticipating or playing Santa just happy memories.

Going to the movie started to break my mood. It was rainy and cold outside and afterwards we walked awhile before we found a cab to take us to Kiki’s Bistro, a favorite haunt. We knew it was a long shot since we didn’t have reservations. We were warmly welcomed, told them we were flexible and sat down at the copper-clad bar for a glass of champagne. Suddenly I felt glad to be alive. It seemed like Christmas. I felt extremely fortunate and relieved that I had shaken off the bad mood. They found a romantic corner for us and it was so wonderful to share this intimate evening with my fabulous handsome hunk husband. As we left the restaurant, I noticed the baskets filled with cellophane wrapped oranges that said “Joyeux Noel” and grabbed one to take with us.

It’s been a special holiday. Though we were alone on Christmas Eve, my son and his girlfriend are visiting from Prague but currently spending time with his dad. When we got home there was a Christmas phone message from my daughter in Victoria, BC that touched me because she has adopted the Jewish religion and the call was an unexpected nod to her memories of our Christmases together. Today my stepson will stop by for waffles and this week I will travel to my family to ring in the New Year. Life is good. Thank you to my husband, who persevered yesterday to make our Christmas a wonderful experience. Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

A special JOYEUX NOEL to you and those you love!!!!!!

What a treat to watch my son search for special ornaments as he and his girlfriend helped trim the tree. One ornament, a ceramic chipmunk (a nod to Chester Chipmunk) and the one above that was on my grandmother's tree when I was little. I used to watch it with fascination at her Christmas Eve parties.