Ah, the holidays. The year many of us travel thousands of miles to visit with family, cook for what seems like 24 hours, and endure complex present-opening rituals with polite “thank yous” for gifts we didn’t really need. Then, we clean up in a resentful, zombie-like state. Everyone goes to bed exhausted, drained, and looking forward to “Not Christmas.”
Does any of this seem familiar?
If you’re like me, you’re left wondering:
What happened to the warm, fuzzy holiday cheer?
Why must I go through all this trouble when all I wanted to do was spend meaningful time with my family?
How didn’t I have a meaningful conversation or connection with anyone?
Am I just a Grinch, or what?
I really don’t like feeling like this. Getting family together at the holidays shouldn’t be a trouble or a burden. The phrase “worth the trouble” doesn’t really work here. After all, spending meaningful time with family shouldn’t be trouble at all. Sometimes we try to hold onto past traditions so tightly that we miss other opportunities that would better suit us. If there doesn’t seem to be a point to the current rituals, then Christmas really is a burden after all.
What’s the point of the holidays, anyway?
Last year, my husband Josh and I ended up staying at home in Fort Collins for the holidays. This wasn’t the initial intention; we had planned on traveling to Michigan to see his family. Unfortunately, a relative in Florida became ill, and Christmas in Michigan was cancelled. We were sad about this, but in the end, we didn’t really mind, as plane tickets from Denver to Detroit were incredibly pricey at that time of year, and I, being four months pregnant, was dealing with daily in-and-out nausea. The thought of sitting through a potentially turbulent flight made me want to vomit anyway.
Instead, we spent Christmas at home. We made waffles. We watched Christmas movies, snuggled our dog Chauncey, and enjoyed the day on the couch, relishing the slow sanctity of our little cocooned family. We thought about our baby, the future, and how far we’d come to get to our happy present. We called our families, and shared holiday joy with them all. For dinner, we went to a local Thai restaurant where the service was exceptionally languid, but since “slow” was the theme of the day, we really didn’t mind at all.
We really did have a simple, heartfelt, and natural Christmas. The only thing missing was the rest of our family.
Christmas should be simple, heartfelt, and natural.
This year, we are traveling to see my family in the Chicago area for the holiday. And, to everyone’s excitement, we’re bringing 7-month old Everbaby with us. He just started sitting up, exercising all his vocal chords, and executing slow 360’s on the carpet. He has a great will to explore, and he casts a sweet, soft smile at everyone he meets. I can’t wait to see Everbaby sitting before the Christmas tree, adorned with twinkly bubbly lights and ornaments from my childhood. I can’t wait to watch him take it all in! I hope we can experience his many firsts slowly, without rushing. I want to wrap our whole family up in a blanket and snuggle them and share our joy with grandparents, aunts, uncles.
This year I’m going to Bring Back Christmas.
I’m going to bring back Christmas for my son, and for a sustainable future of holidays to come.
This year, I’m going to decline participating in holiday traditions that leave me feeling exhausted, empty, and overwhelmed.
This year, I’m going to stop living outdated expectations of the holidays.
This year, I’m going to support a simple, mindful, meaningful holiday where both connecting with loved ones and connecting with the spirit of Christmas is the focus.
Will you join me in bringing the holidays back to the basics, in whatever way that means to you?
Let’s Bring Back Christmas