Enough In The Season Of More
I wrote this post for Circling The Story last year. Another year and yet these words still ring true for me. I hope they help you realign your priorities this holiday season. Here are my thoughts about enough in the season of more this Christmas
There is a part of me that hates this time of year. Is that terrible to write? I haven’t always felt that way. My father’s birthday is November 26 and who doesn’t love gathering those they need the most in life around a table full of good food and even better laughs? The season of “thanks” has historically been one of the most look forward to events in my life. When the leaves begin to turn and fall off in pixels and the disappearance of the sun puts a chilly wisp in the air, it makes me crave sweaters and thick socks.
But for as much I love the things of fall and the need for remembering all the good things in my life, there is a piece of this season people seem to rush past. Stores open earlier and earlier in a sprint to get us closer to Christmas. Parties and final semester assignment before school breaks, only add to the never ending “to be done” list.
There are days I’m too tired to remember to say thank you. Some days, I believe I’m too old to remember whether or not I said thank you or not. Did I say it to the barista as she handed me my coffee this morning? I was in such a hurry and impatient sitting in the drive through I don’t recall. I was more focused on the cup and the lid not spilling and the meeting I was already late for to notice appropriately.
The 2nd and the 5th grader both have separate school programs this month and I’ve already forgotten which one is to dress like a chicken or is it a turkey and the other to be a historical figure. Or was the 5th grader going as chicken for Halloween? Again, I didn’t write it down or not put the school’s note at the bottom of the recycle bin. Oh mama, are you slipping or are you just not paying attention? Some days I believe they are both the same. Yet, perhaps they are both equally my fault.
There is such a hurried rush from blowing out the candle on the jack-o-lantern Halloween night and the race into Christmas. Days it seems the Americanized world has forgotten about a small holiday at the end of November. We’re so busy planning for what we are going to get or give, we forget to look around at what we already have.
I want our family foursome to be intentional this year, like air being released slowly from a balloon. Rushing past Thanksgiving and full on into the Christmas holiday is not how I want to waste our days. Engaging one another and the thing we have surrounding us, I’m ready to breath the air of contentment. I am so weary being in the mindset of “more”. The word for my family in this season is “Enough”. Before we rush into what we want, we will give thanks for what we’ve already be given. And like most great changes in our lives, the question is “How”?
We are looking into some volunteer opportunities around the holidays, especially ones where the kids can come along to help. Having an open dialogue about what others have and don’t have has encouraged great conversations. They are excited about buying gifts for others and looking forward to possibly visiting a nursing home with cookies and serving coffee and donuts to the homeless in our area. It’s been fun watching their engagement and removing some of the fervor around the toy and clothing catalogs that bombard our mailbox this time of year.
My husband and I have been watching our schedules more tightly too. Working full time as a family and domestic relations lawyer, my work amplifies this time of year, creating less family time at home. Instead of being able to have date nights, sometimes we grab coffee between meetings or I’ll bring breakfast after the kids are at school. We are also being selective as to how we spend our free time: saying no to too many extracurricular events or activities, which can only lead to more stress about time. It’s challenging, but there’s a lot of freedom in it too. I’ve even sectioned off our usual Thanksgiving celebrations to two separate weeks: one night of cousins and friends where nothing but a one pot meal is on the menu, in order to pair down the amount of people in our home, but to amplify the intimacy of spending time together. They are small changes and we’re still learning. This is all good.
The decorations, the planning, the parties will all fall where they may and I am trying to not let any of it add stress. The tinsel or the lack of, the food or the simplicity of, and the presents or the scaling back of are all still considered to be icing on the cake. We still have more than enough. Yes, there will be presents and tinsel and lights and plenty of things colored red and green, but they will have to wait. We are having a pretty great time knowing and growing around the things we’ve already been given.
That’s my prayer for all you too. Before you worry about the height of the presents under the tree, may you reflect on what gifts from last year your kids and family even remember. Whether you want the appearance of a Pin worthy holiday or whether you are struggling to wrap gifts in the Care Bear paper left over from their birthday parties, as long as you are fully invested in the moment, it is more than enough.
Happy Holidays all!