Today is the first day of Advent. As we begin to prepare for the commemoration of the birth of Jesus, what are your traditions?
In our house, the weekend of Thanksgiving usually involves cleaning the gutters, hanging the Christmas lights, trimming the tree, addressing Christmas cards to family and friends. Not every year goes smoothly, but my goal is to have most of my gift-giving shopping completed by Thanksgiving to ensure one less thing to focus on during the weekend of Thanksgiving and the month of December. I like to have a lot of down time to see friends and their children in holiday performances, play games with my family, bake cookies and cupcakes, go to playdates and parties. I’d like to say that Christmas always goes flawlessly, but it never fails that I “forget” to wrap some things until Christmas eve — or “forget” to make a scrapbook until the night before we travel to see family. It never fails, there’s always a wrinkle in the plan along the way, but by being ready early, I am able to better manage my anxiety and stress and enjoy the season more.
This year, however, everything is different. Recovering from surgery, having two dogs, having two growing boys, our lives are different. We are different people, but in many ways, better people. We care more about being together, supporting one another, rather than ensuring that cards go out on time and gifts are in the mail to family and friends far flung. We had a minor flood from our refrigerator this summer and finally were able to get the contractor we wanted scheduled to come in and repair the damage to the floors. All these things take more time than I’d like them to take, but it’s part of the process. I’m no different from anyone else when I want things done quickly, efficiently, and at a fair price. I find that this year, everything seems to take a little longer. I find that this year, I’m focusing more on our family of four — more than ever.
It feels good. It feels right.
No, the lights aren’t up, the tree can’t be trimmed for a couple of more weeks due to the floor damage being repaired. I haven’t begun addressing Christmas cards, I haven’t sent the gifts. They’re all ready. They’re all waiting. These tasks that I am prepared to complete, the plans are all in place. They have their time, but not today.
Today I’ll cuddle with my husband, we’ll watch football, I’ll work on my novel, we’ll eat leftovers from Thanksgiving, we’ll find comfort and happiness together in one another. I’m thankful for the chance to have a tomorrow to finish my work from today. I don’t need to do anything today but be present. Be present with my family. Today. Now. That’s my new tradition. That’s my priority.
What are your traditions? Are you preparing for your Christmas or holiday celebrations?
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”