Seems as though Christmas was just yesterday. Plans to travel home were made, prepping to spend hours in the kitchen cooking for family and friends and the only care in the world was to remember to get everyone a gift to put under the tree. The events of this past year have caused quite a shift in the atmosphere and proven to be a challenge for most. Learning new ways to entertain yourself, keeping your children occupied and thinking outside the box is essential if you want to re-introduce the feeling of normalcy back into your life.
If I had to describe this year there are a few choice descriptions but the most accurate would be likened to a 5000-piece puzzle with 1000 of those pieces missing. Seems quite hopeless right? You can't return it or exchange it for another because you got the very last one in stock, so then begins the challenge of dealing with it and attempting to make the best of a baffling situation.
The holidays will forever and always be the most wonderful time of the year. It's an opportunity to make excuses for going off your diet, spending a bit more money on others and yourself than originally anticipated and taking that much-needed vacation. Let us not forget the holiday parties, get togethers, baked goodies, spiked eggnog and if it pleases you to add an ugly sweater contest in the mix then by all means go for it. Just make sure you win, it will soften the blow for having spent money on a hideous sweater. The beautiful decorations, the lights that make you go ooooh and aaaah, the time spent with family and that good ole holiday feeling that makes you all warm and cozy in the pit of your stomach. There really is nothing quite like it.
The only problem is most if not all of those amazing things are on a brief hold while the world heals itself. Taking a step back has a whole new meaning. How do you 'holiday' while maintaining your distance? If it sounds like a challenge that's because it is. In comes the part where you put on your thinking cap and come up with ways to still enjoy the festivities that have become holiday traditions over the years. Maybe this year will be a Zoom call with loved ones, put on your holiday music, grab a cocktail, or not, and prepare to smile until your face hurts. If you love the idea of gift exchange you can still pull names, just do it virtually. Wrap your gift, ship it with love and your job is done. If you are a little less scary than myself, invite a few folks over and plan your space in advance to ensure social distancing is safe and enjoyable for everyone.
Scrambling our brains to remember when times were a little less hectic seem to be a distant memory of long ago however the best thing about those memories is that they are forever ours. Although this mental space we are in at the moment is rather stressful it's very important to remember that this is a time to be treasured and a time to make new memories. Ever heard someone say, 'everything happens for a reason'? Of course you have. What if the universe needed a break of all the hustle and bustle and took a bit of time to woosah, a bit of time to remind everyone what it all really means. This time has given us moments of reflection, spaces of peace that we desperately needed to find, new talents we never knew we had and the most precious thing of all is, this has give us time to reconnect with family and disconnect with things that held little to no value, all while serving as a blatant reminder that we don't have to wait for the holiday to enjoy one another. Purpose now takes on a whole new meaning, and we have found ourselves in a place of thankfulness and grace for just being in the moment.
I put up Christmas decorations about a week prior to Thanksgiving this year and even though it made me feel good and accomplished I just knew my neighbors were thinking I had lost my whole entire mind. A few days later as I watched my neighbors put up their decorations it truly made me happy to know that we have not been robbed of the spirit as we prepare to celebrate and enter a season of thanks. One idea can spark another, so I like to think I had a little to do with that. After all, great vibes have been known to rub off on others.
Yes, this year has thrown us a monkey wrench, but in doing so it has allowed so many to truly stop and take notice of the things and people who matter the most. Sitting still and getting back to what once was is of most importance. Sometimes we need to pause and hit reset in order to restore ourselves back to factory default. I have to believe it's all part of a greater master plan. So, trim the tree, hang the stockings, setup the virtual holiday greetings, call a friend to let them know you are thinking of them and remember the reason for the season.
May your holiday season be bright, may your souls be jolly and may you have a very Merry Christmas. 🕊
AJ is a creative writer and storyteller writing from her home in Indiana.
"This is how you do it; you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it's done. It's that easy, and that hard." -Neil Gaiman