Tuesday, November 30, 2010
guest blogger series-bethany
As a little girl I had a distinct dream of how the holidays would be when I became an adult. It would be four weeks of sparkly dresses, luxe holiday parties, warm familial moments in matching pajamas and stolen kisses under the mistletoe. Christmas as an adult, I was sure, would be a sugar-plum fairy dream-come-true.
And then reality hit. I grew up, and was shocked to discover that grown-up Christmases are severely lacking in sugar-plum fairies. I don’t remember the last time I donned a stiletto and glitzy holiday gown, trotted off to a hot holiday party or wore pajamas that matched anyone (thank goodness for that one)…I consider the holidays a success if I can crank out a few batches of Christmas cookies, get them on a plate and find a matching pair of pumps on Christmas Eve. While I may not yet have to worry about little fingerprints on glass ornaments or cooking for in-laws, the holidays are enough to leave me struggling to find balance.
So, in an effort to maintain some seasonal balance during the crazed holidays, when faced with commitments and responsibilities I’ve started to ask myself one question: “Will this matter next month?”
Incredibly, this makes clear as crystal the holiday 'to-do's which do and do not matter. Over the past few weeks, I’ve found only three important things that will matter next month, next year, next decade. The items that continually get a yes?
Creating memories with those I love. Memory-making traditions are beautifully present during December, because our hearts are so open to others during these days. Things that normally feel cheesy and uncomfortable are holiday standards! (Singing by candlelight? Cheesy. Hanging a branch indoors strictly for kissing? So mushy-gushy.) I’m beginning to grasp that our time with the people we love is so limited. I refuse to whittle away that precious time feeling stressed over something small, or by simply glossing over opportunities to throw a few more coins in our memory bank. It’s time to embrace open-heartedness and bond with those I love...cheesy or not.
Remembering the forgotten. If one thing can get me in tears quicker than a romantic comedy, it’s thinking of those who might feel forgotten during the holiday season. Thankfully, finding a way to help during the holidays doesn’t take much effort! My family is giving up our lazy Christmas morn to volunteer at the local soup kitchen, dishing up meals and handing out gifts to the homeless and less-fortunate. It’s such a small effort on our part. I’m less weepy knowing that I’ll help a smidge, and perhaps one less person may feel forgotten this year.
Finding moments for me. While striving to create a perfect Christmas for those around us through gifts, kind words, décor and feasts, we lose ourselves in our love for others. Isn’t that completely beautiful? But, after days of crafting those perfect festive few weeks, we easily feel the stress and strain of the holiday season. So, whether it’s twenty minutes reading a book, a small nap or a cup of cocoa, I’m trying to find a small niche of time for sanity and self each day this season. Merry Christmas to me.
Suffice it all to say, I’m a big-picture girl. At the end of the holidays, I want to feel that I’ve spent 31 days living happily and loving deeply. My ultimate holiday goal: Let those I love know how much they mean to me. When I focus on that, everything seems to fall into place. The laundry can wait, and if I must purchase holiday cookies from my baker, I pray that party-goers will not shun me. And when I ask myself that little question…things which previously felt like “duties”, such as writing out holiday cards and lending a hand in family feasts, begin to feel like investments in those who matter…those who have invested time and love in my life for years.
And, in all truth, that makes this grown-up Christmas stuff a dream-come-true. Even without the sugar-plums. :)
The lovely Bethany blogs regularly over at Rinse Repeat . Thank you for your warm holiday post Bethany! xox
And on a side note, I am currently looking for more guest bloggers to write on the topic of finding balance during the holidays and on making New Years resolutions that include balance. Hit me up if you're interested. birdsonawire (at) hotmail (dot) com