This year the actual day of Christmas will be quiet. The children are grown and have partners which means many families to visit – some a long ways away. We are having our small family “Christmas” after the 25th. At first I felt the pull of sadness and disappointment. What would we do that day? What will it be like to not have the usual brunch and hurrying to exchange gifts before they run off to see other family members? Somehow the thinking was that quiet meant loneliness.
Given a bit of time and reflection I realized we are just as busy if not more so – it is just that the events do not fall on the 25th. We are gathering but letting go of that expectation of everything happening on the 25th.
There was a bowling party for my brothers birthday in late November. There was the cookie/candy bake the first week of December. There was the family dinner with 13 people last Sunday, a brunch on 24th (thank goodness I am not cooking) and then the 28th is our small family of 6. We will gather to view lights at the local Arboretum, have soup, exchange gifts and play games.
It is all there – events, family, food, trees with colored lights, and outdoor winter adventure with the added bonus of time and space in between activities. We are not putting this all on one and half days. This means each event has time for us to enjoy it. We or others are not rushing off, not over eating. It means moods are lighter since we are not all exhausted from running place to place.
It actually means we can really enjoy the holidays for what they are meant to be. They are a time to spend with family, to reflect on the year and to celebrate your faith – a pause in the calendar before starting all over again with a New Year!
I am happy to take this pause – to spread out my celebrations, to take time to talk with family instead of the eat and run events of some years. I find I like this new way of being – taking time, slowing down, and focusing on each gathering and the people who are a part of it.
Happy Winter Holidays to all! I hope you also may find time to enjoy family, good food and time!