I know Christmas is over. But I have a new post-Christmas ritual I'd like to share. Before the new year begins, take some time to scratch some notes about this holiday season. How did it go? What worked? What didn't? What caused you stress? What was your favorite part? Could you have done anything differently to bring more joy, get the dinner to the table more efficiently, avoid the mall, etc. Take a good hard look at these things and think about which ones ADD to your holiday. Which ones are a burden?
More often than not, we allow Christmas to happen to us. It is, as they say, the tail wagging the dog. We get thrashed around by the shoulds, the ought to's, the have to's, the people-pleasing, the demands, the rituals - some meaningful but most not, the events - some worthwhile but most not, and a calendar that shrinks by the day. In your perfect world, what would your holiday really look like?
I found my notes from last year and learned: Mike's back went out when he got home from his sales meeting. This year he got sick. Next year, I will put an as-yet-unnamed malady on the calendar; I will ask Mike to complete his tasks in November. I also learned that my favorite event of last season was the simplest: A Christmas Story at the Riverview Theater followed by pizza with friends. I need very little else. Everything else - the Holidazzle Parade, Macy's 8th floor display, a picture with Santa, the Nutcracker, etc., etc., etc., - are much more fun when you don't do them every single year. If Liam goes to the Holidazzle parade 3 times in his entire childhood, he will still remember it fondly as a holiday tradition.
I thought back on the things that made me feel overtired and overheated and hurried. About 99% of those things were mall-related.
I admitted in writing that church is a pain in the ass. There......I said it. I don't like church on Christmas. It just gets in the way......of Christmas. And I bet Jesus would agree with me.
I also admitted that I love Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas is You. Mock me, I don't care. I love that song. Admitting it to yourself is the first step. The next step is downloading it.
If you want your holiday to be meaningful, it has to be mindful. Taking some notes right now will bring your most hectic holiday into sharp relief........so you can leave it behind.
And next year you'll enjoy more snowy walks, more independent shops with free gift wrapping, more pizza with friends.
And more Mariah Carey.