It's that time of year again--it's wonderful or stressful or cinnamony or sprucey or festive? What is it? Well, it's a lot of things--expectations--drama--shoulds--all rolled up into one.
Right now, I am thinking of how radically different last year's holiday season was. We were pre-vaccine--and living on zoom. Limited gatherings if any. I remember seeing my neighbors "entertaining" people in their freezing cold backyard. BRR and GRR. As challenging as that was--it also set the table for a different holiday experience. Some of the traditions that you may have come to know and love went by the wayside. If there is a silver lining in all of that--it might be that you realized what matters and what doesn't?
For holiday 2021, we are post-vaccine but not post-covid. Pandemic stress and fatigue are still in the background. So, NOW is the time to rethink what works for you given your life as it is and reconsider what you will do, won't do so that you can have what you really want--what is really important.
As much as traditions can ground us to our people, our heritage and culture, they can also become confining if they have lost their meaning over time. My Nanny (favorite grandmother married to Poppy, favorite grandfather) was Polish and Lithuanian. She spoke Polish and made homemade kielbasa for Christmas. I can still smell the salt peter (what is that?) and see the sausages hanging on strings from her wooden kitchen cabinets in her ranch house in Warminster, Pennsylvania. OH--Nanny's kitchen. Stale chocolate licorice, circus peanuts, love, love, love, love, love, love, love. I don't need to try to recreate a "tradition" that she had (I am a vegetarian!) because that particular tradition doesn't mean anything to me--it's the feelings of love and connection that mean something. That's what's important. That's worthy of reflecting over.
With that in mind, being very aware of what you will and will not do is a great way to be WHO you want to be especially at a time of year that seems to run away with extra food, drinks, "to-dos" and all the rest.
Here is a list of some of the things I will and won't do.
1) I will not look at the end caps at Trader Joe's and the grocery stores. I just don't want to know.
2) I will not bake a bunch of cookies just to have them around. I will bake a batch IF someone requests them--and then deliver them immediately.
3) I will not overdo decorating that might wear me out--like last year's gigantic tree. I will get a smaller tree and love it.
4) I will not give up my daily routines that keep me grounded. I will keep exercising and eating right and prioritizing sleep.
5) I will enjoy myself A LOT. The lights, the decorations, the cards I love sending. I will have no regrets come January 1, 2022 because I AM taking good care of myself.
Spend some time thinking about how you can make this holiday season merry and bright in your own special way and see what it does for your wellbeing--your sense of peace in the world--and maybe even create a new tradition! That's worth celebrating.