Christmas has always been a hard time of year for me. My childhood memories are less Ho Ho Ho and more Bah Humbug. Some of my favorite Christmases pre-kids were when I just pretended none of it was happening, a strategy my Christmas-loving partner has roundly rejected. So over the years, Jim has been slowly chipping away at my Scroogey exterior. Every year, after the holiday is over, we debrief, sorting events and outings into categories of what worked and what didn't: piles of presents out, Christmas day open house in. It has been a process of trial and error, of three steps forward and two steps back.
We've been working really hard at creating our own family traditions, finding all of the things that feel right, and surrounding ourselves with the people who make sense to us. And you know what? It might be working. As Christmas is right around the corner, I have found myself, for the first time I can recall, looking back over the past twenty-four days and feeling, I don't know, happy about the holiday, about the people we spent time with and the things we did. I might even be feeling a little bit of sadness that it is almost over and, dare I say it, excitement about next year. I don't feel empty and used up, bogged down in sadness and disappointment. Instead, I feel content.
The specifics of this year are irrelevant. The broad strokes are simple. Say no more often, but say it with love in your heart and a smile. Prioritize the things that bring you uncomplicated joy. Doing is greater than having, giving is greater than receiving, and you can never have enough egg nog. And with that, the Kate's small heart grew three sizes that day.
Merry Everything! Happy Something! And to all a good winter solstice!