‘Tis the season to reflect on the events of 2015 (and to realize that I’ve only written one blog post since last year’s holiday meditation. And that it’s okay.)
Here we are again–December; it’s so hard to believe! We skipped Thanksgiving this year, which has generated audible gasps from those who know just how much I love to plan and cook the holiday meal. There was no school all that week for our daughter so we decided to take a roadtrip. To avoid feeling depressed about not having a family table to visit on this favorite American holiday, we made sure to plunk down in Canada on Nov. 26th so that the festivities didn’t matter.
Our excursion proved to be quite an adventure–especially as we navigated a nasty Midwestern snowstorm the first day–and it didn’t bother us to realize we were eating sushi and Indian food that evening. However, we have felt a bit disoriented this month. Between the warmish weather and the absence of turkey and cranberries end of November, it hasn’t felt like the time to put up a tree or twinkle lights or bake cookies.
I know this season is about much more than those tangible things for many people, especially those who light a menorah or follow an Advent calendar. And since we love our tradition of celebrating Winter Solstice, the fact that it’s getting dark around 4 PM feels just like it should.
My point is, by forgoing the holiday activities in which we usually partake, we realized what’s really meaningful. I loved having the whole week of Thanksgiving to spend time with my two sweeties, but I feel like next year we should plan to land our roadtrip closer to family or friends with whom we can share a meal and our gratitude.
It’s one more step in our journey to paring away all the excess and deciding what really feeds our souls this time of year. Again, my daughter and I will bake cookies from scratch–though many fewer. I’m still trying to sit quietly in the evenings by the light of the tree to read. And my daughter is establishing her own holiday traditions like watching “White Christmas” and playing dreidel.
This year we’ve pared down the amount of holiday decorations as well as the calendar events. (In the six years we’ve been parents at Christmas we’ve learned what community activities make us crazy and stressed.) I am focused on volunteering and getting my daughter involved in random acts of kindness and helping select gifts for multiple giving trees around the community.
Since our immediate family is not in the area and actually quite spread out from east to west coast, we aren’t able to get everyone together in the same place on the same day. To be honest, in that regard my family has never really established a tradition. We roll with whatever we can and savor the time we get with each other, if even just a day. So from year to year we do our best to create and maintain our own traditions and focus on what makes our hearts sing.
It’s going just fine. I look forward to more peaceful evenings and quiet weekends this month and I wish you all the same. Happy Holidays!