First, before you can build a driftwood Christmas tree, you have to have locate a magnanimous Christmas spirit and obliterate the Grinch, Scrooge and Black Friday within. It’s in there, somewhere, deep, entombed.
In order to achieve obliteration, use the psychic dynamite of caring for perfect strangers, human, canine, feline or otherwise. For example, walk into any tire center and purchase a new set of tires for someone, say a single mom or grandfather, who desperately needs them to keep a job or family together but doesn’t have enough cash and zero credit.
You’ll see these people at virtually every tire center in the area during the winter, on the verge of falling apart at the counter, and they need your help, quiet and inconspicuous help. Offer this humble aid, practice some humility, and you will surely dynamite the holiday cynicism out of your heart.
The next step is to actually visit the beach during the hectic holiday season and set aside consumer capitalism for an hour. Try it. The effort might provide the best tranquil hour you’ll spend in December and won’t cost you a cent.
Do not bring tools, ornaments, candy canes, or hierarchies. Bring yourself, a partner, dogs, friends or family.
Third, you must find a beach with an assortment of driftwood. That’s pretty simple. Gather three spars, preferably ones with notches or forks at one end so you can interlock the spars and raise them into a secure tripod. This should take about ten minutes, about half the time it takes to pay for something you don’t need at a big box retailer.
Once you’ve hoisted and anchored your driftwood Christmas tree, you are ready to decorate it with anything at your disposal at the beach. Rope and kelp make superb garland. Seaweed doubles as groovy tinsel. Limpets and hairy tritons dangle nicely in the breeze. Feathers or beaver sticks can work for a star. You might even be lucky enough to discover a Japanese bottle cap for panache. Erecting a cairn out front lends a druidic aura, too. There’s more to the season than just Christmas. You can even invite others to decorate with an invitation written in the sand near the fort.
Awaken your long-dormant creative mind and use everything around you to delight a passerby. Once they stumble across your handiwork, they will behold your anonymous Christmas spirit, perhaps even join in decorating, and no doubt gift that spirit into tiny dark corners where light especially needs to shine. Perhaps these people won’t even know they are shining light.
And all that sublime goodwill toward men and women and animals and watersheds because you went to the beach before Christmas and got your hands dirty in the sand.
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