I absolutely LOVE holiday breaks. The promise of time with my kids, sleeping in, doing special things together, all get me excited. My plans in my head go something like this: we'll stay up later drinking cocoa and watching christmas flicks; we'll go see christmas lights multiple times; we'll hit the special christmas displays in the area; I'll take individual kids on Christmas shopping trips; we'll go to movies and shows and theater. For some reason the fantasy doesn't sound as exhausting when I'm fantasizing about it as it does on the end of it!
My daughter and I had great plans today to visit a city about an hour from here and attend a special Christmas theme park extravaganza. I woke at 10:30 and felt like I'd been hit by a MAC truck. She woke even later, complaining of a headache and allover yuckiness. Why, you ask? I'm convinced we're sick of Christmas!
In my home, Thanksgiving is a very laid-back holiday. We eat when we want and it is usually just the four of us. Everybody helps to cook, and we've even been known to put it off a day if we all would rather do other things on Thanksgiving day. We make a paper chain that includes the things we are thankful for and hang it up for the year. And ta-dah! Thanksgiving is done.
Christmas is another deal entirely. It's a very big deal. I grew up with tons of traditions, starting with Black Friday shopping and extending to toasting in the New Year at midnight. In fact, there are so many things I want to squeeze into the time that I can't figure out how to do it. And here we are, on December 30th, and everyone is still trying to recover from the last month of partying.
I've always been a huge fan of Thoreau's approach of simplify, simplify. One of my good friends survived Hurricane Katrina but not without losing everything she owned. However, she survived with her family, and they began the heavy task of rebuilding their lives. Have you ever wondered, if you had to walk away from it all, could you do it?
My friend emerged from her losses stating that she learned an important lesson. Everything she owned that she thought she couldn't live without--photos of her children, scrapbooks and albums and books and dishes and presents from her loved ones--she could live without it all.
I kind of view Christmas that way. There are so many things going on during the season; so many parties and special events we want our families to take part in that we lose the peace that surrounds us. You know, the peace that's supposed to connect us to God. Paring down decorations, meals, parties, and events gives us more peace and more opportunity to commune with God and even ourselves and our loved ones.
Yes, I know, this post is about four weeks too late. But it's not too late for next year, or for next holiday. My New Year's resolutions will include slowing down and enjoying time with my family.