Sunday, December 20, 2020

Bears transform barren holiday

Maebeary wears Rudolph's nose, not a red ribbon
Because I will not be able to host friends and family during this holiday season, my motivation for decorating lessened considerably. I know--we're supposed to be looking out for ourselves this year--self care, in the jargon of mental health experts. But the fact of the matter is, I think it's more fun to decorate when other people can see the result.

Although I didn't feel like hauling the contents of several bankers' boxes to the living room this year to transform the house into a tiny wonderland, I had an inspiration. My stuffed bear collection!  And to give due credit, the inspiration came while conversing in a Zoom-based Community Café facilitated by my local YMCA for older members of the community during the pandemic. The conversation was about things we could do differently this year to help stave off loneliness. 

Yes, my stuffed bear collection, stored on shelves in the empty room that was my late husband's office, could come downstairs for the holidays! And so I tied a red ribbon on each of them and tossed them over the stair railing (that was the most fun of all), and gave them a place of honor on the couch. After all, no one else will be sitting there this year.

It's quite fun, I have to admit, to have the company. Only two bears stay downstairs regularly: a large plump brown bear
Jules talks with Santa (not a bear,
but a gift from a dear friend years ago)
, Jules, was a gift from one of my sons more than twenty-five years ago; and Maebeary, last year's Christmas gift from a granddaughter. Jules is quite staid--perhaps it's his middle age (in bear years). Maebeary, however, was born to be a clown--and, of course, she's young. I keep both on my bed and for whatever reason they delight me daily. She regularly falls off the bed and lands in silly poses. Sometimes she twines herself around Jules as if she's trying to get attention. Maebeary apparently heard about the couch congregation and demanded to join them. No red ribbon for her, however. Instead she opted for a Rudolph nose. 

Jules joins the group only in the daytime, preferring the luxury of a queen sized bed to a crowded couch (and besides, Jules is a very cozy companion on the pillow next to mine). But I couldn't be happier to have them in my living room this year. They are doing a surprisingly good job keeping my loneliness at bay.