Last year’s Christmas season was unusually chaotic around our house. Because of an educational opportunity, our son, his wife and his family with three small children were living with us. Two of these children were two-month old twins. My sweet daughter-in-law was a trooper, but I was caught up in the whirlwind because I WANTED to help.
Couple that with a chairmanship of a major musical production that was taking an inordinate amount of my time, and I hate to admit that I didn’t have any extra time to really ponder on the beauty of the season, or do any of the extras that accompany the holiday. That was an unusual December, but it taught me a dear lesson. We can be too busy. And when we are, we need to eliminate all the traditional “fluff” possible…as well as all the guilt that accompanies that removal.
My neighbors still love me even though they didn’t get their usual Christmas cinnamon rolls. Christmas cards weren’t sent, and no one called to ask if I was dead. Gift giving was simplified…in a MAJOR way, and there were still good feelings as we ate our simple Christmas breakfast together. All the love we have for family and friends does not need to be wrapped up into one week or day of giving. Letters, baked bread, warm wishes and love can and should be given year round. And then we need to stop with the guilt if Christmas isn’t picture perfect for everyone we know and love.
I just finished a phone conversation with my daughter-in-law. I heard the same anxiety in her voice that I felt for so many years of my life. She’s so afraid someone will not have a good Christmas. Good for her for caring! But I lovingly reminded her that her husband and children were going to have a great Christmas, even if they didn’t get exactly what they wanted under the tree. “We’re going to be together, and Christmas is going to be wonderful!”
December is much calmer around our home this year. My son and his adorable little family are on the east coast continuing his career. The musical production is over, and it was well worth all the time and effort given. But I am still looking for ways to simplify my Christmas. I hope the pendulum doesn’t swing too far to the other extreme…but I’m determined to strike the right balance in giving AND feeling the peace and joy that this season is all about.