Lately, logging onto my favourite social media sites has been slightly stress-inducing. Every second post touts pictures of yummy cookies someone has baked or a gorgeous tree someone has decorated.
Inevitably, a picture crops up of some cheer-inducing festivity that someone has visited in their spare time. Or maybe it’s a Christmas event that they attended. It seems parties gloriously abound and merriment is everywhere. ‘Tis the season.
It is, after all, the most wonderful time of the year, right?
But while creepy little elves are making snow angels in the all-purpose flour and duct-taping Barbie to the ceiling, I am left gasping to catch a whiff of this fabulous Christmas cheer as it wafts past me, virtual- style, each and every night.
I am not sold on this idea about Christmas being “all that and then some.”
It’s not that I don’t want to experience what Christmas has to offer. It’s not even that I don’t love some of what Christmas is all about. Of course I do. I am not the Grinch… at least not yet.
But somehow I have been left with a certain funny feeling in the pit of my stomach that because I don’t love EVERYTHING about this season of crazy busyness, all is not well. Everything is not right in the world. Something must be awry this holiday season with my Christmas spirit. Maybe it’s just me, but I am not sure how much more of the frantic holiday pace I can take — I am not sure if burning myself out for Christmas is really what I can do anymore.
Not that I haven’t been there/done that. Actually, I am a girl who decorated the house, inside and out; who wrote the annual Christmas newsletter (complete with month-by-month updates) to include with her 50-plus cute little Christmas cards each and every year. I made the fruitcake, the plum pudding, the fudge. The peanut brittle. I helped with the Christmas concerts, the plays and recitals.
I bought most of the gifts and returned them before Christmas, if need be. I hosted the Christmas Eve party for more years than I can remember, brought a plate of food to the Christmas morning brunch the next morning and then made the Christmas supper for our family of six while the others napped on the couch.
And on Boxing Day, I made sure I had everything boxed up and packed by 10 a.m.so that we could all be on the road for Christmas Partie Deux, arriving somewhere in the middle of the province around noon.
I have been that kind of holiday-crazy. And maybe I still am.
But here is an indication that things are changing. I think I am getting a wee bit slack.
Recently, Hubbie resurrected last year’s Christmas tree piece by itchy piece, with Christmas ornaments still clinging to low-lying branches (a gift from the Christmas 2014 slacker-fairies). I tested light strings. Since half of the lights were burnt out and I am a cheapskate, I wrapped one strand back and forth about 10 times over the kitchen window, and these are now slung over the topper, drapery style.
I am waiting breathlessly for everything to come crashing down any minute, but I stand by my dictum: I cannot throw out strands of lights when there is still something blinking on them.
I also copied a recipe down with five ingredients. Sounds simple enough. Apparently it is the easiest recipe ever, which goodness knows, I need even more than I need the candy. I hope I get around to making it sometime over the holidays. But since I already made supper the other night and that took two hours, I am officially maxed out in the cooking department for the next day or so. It’s not looking good.
Am I a Christmas keener or seasonal slacker? It seems I vacillate between the two. But do I have to either be one or the other? Where is the happy middle? And where, in all this confusion about over-doing things or underdoing them, is Christmas? Where are you Christmas?
Can we truly celebrate Christmas the way it is meant to be celebrated: intentionally, heart-fully, deliberately? Doing so without partaking in everything the season has to offer (complete with all the mayhem and chaos)? Does every moment have to count? Do we have to enjoy everything about this holiday madness?
Part of the problem in finding Christmas seems to be that we have lost the wonder. We are so consumed with busyness of doing that the contemplative nature of being is all but lost on us. Where are our silent nights? Our holy nights? Why is all not calm? All not bright?
We are all so busy, caught up in activities that drag the Christmas cheer right out of us, creating something magical, bigger-than-life, beyond our wildest imaginations, that we forget the simplicity of the little moments given to us: moments just simply there for us to breathe. These are breaths from heaven sent our way to stop us in our tracks and cause us to just simply be.
Finding the time and the way to breathe into the beauty and wonder of the season, while challenging, is what Christmas is truly all about. Maybe when we can take the time to stop and breathe in the WONDER of it all, we will discover that Christmas was right where it needed to be all the time:
In our hearts.