Daily Archives: December 20, 2013

state of the holiday

It’s December 20th, and I’m doing a little check-in with myself to see how things are going. I’ll remove the stresses of work out of the equation – of which there are a few – lots of deadlines and the regular busyness / last-minute nature of office holiday cards and client gift deliveries, etc. At first I felt like I was being dragged into the center of a season that I wasn’t really feeling, and I’m never good residing in a state and place where I don’t want to be. On top of that, the late Thanksgiving holiday shortened this season by a week, and then M was out of town another one of those weeks, so even if I had been operating at the top of my game, there were simply not enough hours in the day to accomplish all of our holiday traditions of past years. 

I have many things on the list of ” no—this year”.

No homemade goodies for friends and neighbors this year.

No teacher gifts this year.

No ornaments on the tree this year.

No wreaths or pine garlands or little white lights on the porch or iron fence this year.

No iced Christmas cookies this year.

No Nutcracker or other seasonal programs / shows this year.

Earlier in the year I purchased material to make many of our gifts this year – most of that is sitting in the closet, waiting for another time.

I usually shop for friends and family from little shops in town and on our travels – this year, M and I sat down one night and placed all of our orders online.

My holiday cards are always started in late fall, and finished by now – ready for mailing off to all corners of the country. This year they are most decidedly not.
Listing it all out like that makes it seem like there should be this large, gaping hole in our December. And there sort of is – a large, gaping hole. There’s just no getting around that this year, and maybe for many more to come. 

But here’s what I know on this day before the longest night of the year. I can sit comfortably on the edge of that hole and let it be what it is. I can resist the urge to fill the hole with all manner of things that occupy my hands and distract me from its presence and its depth. I can be at peace that everything need not be done by a certain date on the calendar at the expense of enjoying the days leading up to it. I can let go of all the things that are so good to do for others, even when it’s hard to do – hard, because they are important – the gift making and sharing and fellowship and connecting. I can do that because I know they will come back again, in another time. Not to fill up holes, but to build bridges across them, and to nurture those hands that hold my own so that I don’t slip over the edge.

There is a calmness and a comfort in this place where I am sitting. On the longest night of the year I will sit around a long table, surrounded by family – slowing down, letting go, and letting it be. I will light a candle for her, and give thanks for the days we were given, and are given.