I don’t think I’ve ever been more relaxed than I am this holiday season.
I finished my shopping early at the big Lutz/Land O’ Lakes Arts & Craft show in Lake Park. Swapped out my table’s placemats from autumn leaves to snowflakes the day after Thanksgiving. And have two batches of Christmas cookies waiting in my freezer for my family’s holiday party.
As I write this column a week before Christmas, I still haven’t put up my tree nor pulled down the boxes of ornaments I accumulated during 25 years of raising children. And it’s likely that I won’t.
As far as outdoor decorations, I plugged in our iconic 4-foot Frosty the Snowman on my front porch, which gives off just enough light to illuminate the wreath on my door. Instead of spending hours hanging lights from the roof and wrapping them around trees, I’m enjoying the beautiful lighted scenes in my neighbors’ yards.
After decades of being caught up in the holiday hoopla that we mistakenly think is essential for our children’s happiness, this year I’ve said no to those holiday indulgences that make me feel overstimulated, unsatisfied and guilty for not doing more.
Instead, I have slowed the season’s pace to give myself the most precious gift of all — time.
Time to enjoy the spiritual significance of the season. Time to reflect on the joys of past holidays. Time to do things with people I care about with no expectations of exchanging gifts.
I never imagined that the holidays could be so enjoyable. I am basking in the pleasures of what I love most — whether it’s reading a book, listening to medieval Christmas music or calling friends whom I have not talked to since last Christmas.
Time is a gift I am also sharing with my staff. We’ve been off since last Friday when we finished putting together this Christmas edition of the paper.
Producing our holiday edition early gave us five glorious days off. We’re back to work tomorrow and Friday to get out our Jan. 1 edition, and then we’re off again for another five days.
These beautifully long, back-to-back weekends are possible because Christmas and New Year’s fall on Wednesday, the same day The Laker/Lutz News is delivered to your home. This doesn’t happen often (the last time was in 2002), and we’re delighted to be taking advantage of the calendar.
My daughter, Rachel, is home from college on her winter break, and we’re using this bonus time to visit family in Minnesota. We’re hoping that being with parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins will ease the sorrow of spending Christmas apart from my son and Rachel’s brother, Andy.
Andy is a Marine who deployed to Afghanistan in November, just a week after he was married. But thankfully, while in Minnesota, we’ll be seeing Andy’s new wife, Erin, because she too will be in the Midwest visiting her parents and siblings.
As happy as I am to be at my childhood home for Christmas, I am sad to leave behind many people whom I care deeply about.
Of course, it is impossible to spend Christmas with everyone we love. There are too many people, too many miles, too many constraints. But when we get back from our travels, we can give those who remained here our time, attention and presence — the most precious gifts of all.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.