Usually by this time of the holiday season I’d be in a complete frenzy. I’d have numerous lists for cookies to bake, presents to buy, cards to send, meals to prepare, groceries to buy, and a list to keep track of all my lists. You’d think I was in charge of organizing a royal wedding!
It would begin pretty much the day after Halloween. The lists themselves took at least a week to prepare. Then throw in that both of my children have birthdays during the holidays and, well, the amount of things to do just grows to a staggering height.
This morning I’m sitting here at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee unsure what to do with myself. Last year I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. The cookie list gets ripped up. My family has been staying at home and social distancing since March. There was no family gathering at Thanksgiving, nor will there be one on Christmas or New Year’s day. The list of meals to prepare and groceries to buy has dwindled greatly.
Even present buying has taken a hit. Fortunately my favorite shops (Found Studio and Red Canoe) offer online ordering so I’m still able to shop local and support my friends and neighbors without leaving the comfort and safety of my home.
Without the “hustle and bustle” I’ve more time to reflect on why all these seasonal chores and rituals have been so important in my life. I’ve discovered, as I’m sure you have over these past long months, that it’s never been about the amount of cookies I baked or presents I bought, but about the people who enjoyed them.
This year the time I would have spent in my car, or writing lists, or standing in line, I’ve spent writing to friends and family. I found I had quite a collection of postcards and I’ve sent them to the people I care about just to say I was thinking of them. It’s been rather pleasant to not hurry, or sit down thinking I’ve thirty minutes to write out forty cards before I have to pick-up something from the store and get another batch of cookies in the oven.
I’m also taking my time to decorate, getting rid of items we no longer use or need, and placing objects in new areas instead of putting them up because that’s where they always go. This year, for the first time in twelve years, we have a real tree instead of the artificial one we’ve been using. I ventured out – a rarity these days – to Walther Gardens and bought a little Charlie Brown tree. It’s adorable and uses a third of the ornaments we normally haul out. More time is now spent on admiring the tree instead of adorning it.
I hope this season you find time to relax and enjoy the holiday. Leave the cookies to your local bakery, I’m sure they’d appreciate the business. Call your loved ones, send them notes and cards. Most importantly, stay safe, be well, and wear your mask so we can all be together for all the holidays to come.