It’s that time of year again. I can tell from the twinkling lights, the cheesy songs, the long lines, and the feeling of panic rising in my chest. Many people look forward to the holidays each year, and I wish I were one of them. For me, the holidays bring back many painful memories. Perhaps to avoid acknowledging the hard times, I tend to fill my schedule to the brim during the Christmas season. So many gifts to buy, crafts to make, parties to attend, that there isn’t any time to reflect on the past! This self-destructive behavior makes the holidays nearly as tough as they used to be when I was a little girl, but for the opposite reason. Rather than empty days looming ahead with no school to protect me from my father’s terror, the holidays now are a sprint of nonstop projects and obligations.
Each year, I resolve to stop being such a Grinch and enjoy Christmas for once. This year, I’m not hoping for a perfect Christmas, but I am hoping for an enjoyable one. I still feel the panic starting to set in, but now I’m beginning to understand why. Not because there is so much to do, but because the chill in the air and presents under the tree remind me of a hard time that I couldn’t control. Now my husband and I do have control over our holiday experience, and we’re finally taking charge. We want our holiday to be simple, joyful, and focused on love.
Pulling into the driveway on Sunday afternoon, panic is creeping in again. After a relaxing trip to Pennsylvania, I see our dead mums and soggy pumpkins still on the stoop from Halloween. Opening the door, our Christmas tree is all decorated and surrounded with unwrapped gifts. There are boxes on either side of the walkway, dishes left on the coffee table, and piles of papers on the desk. We have our work cut out for us.
Once our house has been straightened up, laundry is rolling and soup is in the crockpot, we can cuddle up on the couch together and enjoy each others company. Our trip to Longwood was crowded and frigid cold, but still beautiful. Dinner was delicious. But it is good to be home.
Monday, we’ve both taken off work to go Christmas shopping in hopes that the stores won’t be too busy. After a few online orders and Monday’s trip, we’re almost finished shopping. As the orders come in, I’ll start wrapping. All very simple and easy this year. I remember staying up practically all night last year, putting together ‘spa bath jars’ for coworkers and friends. They were adorable, but way too time consuming. The only crafts I’m doing this year are homemade cookies. During the past week, I whipped up a few batches, rolled the dough into balls, and froze them to bake just before Christmas. Just have a couple more batches to make this week.
Before we know it, DJ and I will be snuggled up on the couch with some Chinese takeout to watch Home Alone. It’s our Christmas-Eve-Eve tradition to relax with a Christmas movie and Chinese before rushing around visiting family the next two days. Then we’ll be packing up the car with heavy boxes and crinkly gift bags on our way to South Jersey. And then the holidays will be over and 2016 will be coming to a close.
We aim to have one more post up on Thrive or Survive this month, but we are mainly focusing on taking some time to revitalize our brand for the new year. In the last six months since we have launched the site, DJ and I have learned so much. We look forward to growing more and seeing more of our vision come to life in the next year. If you have any input or feedback for us, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We would truly love to hear from you.
Have a blessed holiday season,