By now you have survived the infamous Black Friday events or at least the barrage of sale advertisements for the after Thanksgiving Day sales. During the next few weeks in preparation for the Christmas holiday we will think about everything that needs to get done and be going at fever pitch. Too much to do and too little time. The gift selection, wrapping, baking, cooking and decorating can leave us exhausted. When we throw in the open houses and other celebrations we wonder how it will all get done in time – and yet it always does.
Why not try a new recipe or new decorating idea we think to ourselves and find that we have consequently placed ourselves in serious overdrive. Of course, the family looks at the new ‘stuff’ on the table and says with obvious displeasure, ‘ What’s that? Followed by ‘ Where is the other stuff you usually make?’ No descriptive language is used here – like animal, vegetable or mineral but rather everything is relegated simply to ‘stuff.’ Amazingly, you know exactly the stuff that they are referring to and respond with, I just thought I would try something new. I can promise you new is not typically what family members have in mind for the traditional Christmas get togethers. The word traditional is used for a purpose. I have also learned that there is a fine line between gratitude and outright rebellion on this topic. You think to yourself, why did I bother – followed up with the thought -I really liked the old stuff better myself.
Your eyes fog over and you remember the pictures on the holiday editions of the monthly magazines. Those wonderful chefs and decorating gurus look positively giddy with self pleasure at the spread laid out before them. My latest theory is that behind all those magazines pictures of Martha Stewart smiling calmly and serenely is a cast of thousands hidden somewhere between the tinsel and mouth watering goodies. Back in my kitchen there is only me.
We have become masters at multi-tasking but what does that really mean? Not truly experiencing the moment but thinking about at least two or three other things left to do on our list. Funny thing about lists. They seem to multiply during the few hours of sleep. They greet us in the morning expecting applause that they not only maintained but gained on us while we escaped into oblivion. We may wonder to ourselves, has it always been this busy, this hectic during the Christmas season? We feel guilty if we don’t make everyone’s Christmas absolutely perfect.
One thing I have come to realize is that the more you do the more YOU expect yourself to do. It is not others that seem to place the super human expectations on us but ourselves. We watch people in line paying for groceries or gifts, talking on their phones or texting and I wonder….when will we slow down, exhale and enjoy the moment? Maybe never you may respond and maybe you’re right. I do know that I am making a commitment to myself to slow down and appreciate the moment. We may only have two different kinds of home made cookies this year and not three. Do you think anyone will notice? Probably not, but they will notice and feel my tension if I am exhausted and overwhelmed. That kind of tension can make even the most joyous occasion lose its’ significance. I’m making a pact with myself. I will do what I can do but will not make myself bonkers worrying about every single thing. The people I come in contact with during this season are too important for that to happen. If everything is not perfectly aligned…there is always next year! I need to be fully present and engaged when I am with them. After all, we are not guaranteed tomorrow.
Is anyone out there relating to what I am saying? If so let me hear a big ‘ Amen, Sister!’ Let’s put the joy back into the season and keep the demands we place on ourselves rational. When we see a line a mile long in the check out line let’s remember to pass on a thank you to the cashier. Who knows, we might be the one bright spot in their day!