There's a lot of talk these days about simplifying the holidays. Talk of focusing on what we really value and letting go of the stress. I love that this conversation seems more prevalent, that we are sharing tips and ideas about giving more and buying less. About how being present is the best gift we can give each other.
It's true, I have a very long to-do list. But, I also made a December fun list, to balance it out and remember that there's a lot to look forward to this month. I don't want to get to Christmas and realize that I spent the whole month with my head down just going from one task to the next. I was telling a friend about my fun list this weekend and she asked, reasonably, "won't you just get stressed about trying to do all the fun things?" But it's more of a reminder, a guideline. I know we won't get to them all and that's ok, it's just to help me remember to make space and time for special traditions.
My feelings about Christmas have evolved so much over the years. From being so excited I couldn't sleep, to being bored and over it. I loved my time working in the bookstore, with it's crazy frantic energy. I loved being able to put the right book in the right hands and running on adrenaline and sugar cookies and the John Waters Christmas album all the way up until Christmas Eve, then collapsing on a plane the next day to see my family.
It's different now, of course. Now it's more about making the magic for the under-four-feet crew. It's taking pieces of Chris's and my childhood traditions and weaving them to make our own. On Black Friday, instead of buying more stuff, we cleaned out a closet and made a give-away pile. It was so satisfying, I'm thinking that will be something to continue.
The kids are excited about toys and Santa of course. But they are also excited about the songs and the stories and the parties and the family time. And I'm thankful to keep focusing on that.