Which means I’m starting to feel stressed and overwhelmed.
Suddenly things get a lot more cluttery. A big tree takes up half our living room and the place gets packed with sentimental decorations. Life starts zooming at a pace I can hardly keep up with. All my little lists seem to explode with jumbles of things to buy and to make and to read and to do and to enjoy.
This year I want to focus on that last list. I want to enjoy. Joy. Peace. Love. Isn’t that what this season is about? Funny cause there are lots of moments inside that start to feel like woe and craziness and annoyance.
All year I eagerly look forward to the Christmas season. It is packed with things I love and then wrapped up in that sweet spirit of Christmas that really doesn’t come any other time of year. But, through the years of being a mother at Christmas the whole season has been weighed down by all the physical and mental work that’s on my shoulders to make the magic come alive.
I was talking with a friend the other day about the Christmas season and how it always bowls me over, leaving me totally exhausted. She responded, “Yeah, by Christmas Day I’m always exhausted by all the fun I’ve had.” What the what the? Fun? I was more thinking about how tired and blown the work leaves me feeling. I usually don’t think too much about the fun.
Sure, I’m having fun the whole time, at least the makings are there for me to have fun, but I’m not very aware of that. I find myself acknowledging the work way more than the fun.
And, I’ve decided that needs to stop. I need to reframe things. This is all work I want to be doing. Work that shows my family and friends and neighbors how much I love them. If I focus on the work and how overwhelmed I am all the time I wind up feeling even more overwhelmed and totally miss the fun and joy that’s stuffed into the season. The traditions all just become work, the moments that lace all the work get scattered to the side as I whiz through the motions. And then complain about them.
So, here’s my strategy: I’m not going to grumble. I’m not going to complain (in my mind or to my friends or to Jeff) about all that there is to pack in. Instead, I’m going to acknowledge the fun and magic and wonder more. I’m going to talk about it, write it down….stop for moments every day to let the beauty of it all fall into my lap. I’m going to give up on perfection and instead focus on love.
I’ve noticed that when friends ask “how are you doing?” this time of year in my mind they are saying “how are you surviving this crazy season?” And I answer, “We’re great, but life is busy and blah blah blah.” I’m going to try to hear this question differently and respond a little more positively. Sure, we are all busy this time of year, but don’t we need to spend more time naming and talking about how awesome and magical it all is? How much fun we really are having? Maybe if I talk about that more I’ll actually be able to grasp all the fun, to let the moment soak into me, maybe the wonder will come alive like never before.
I can’t stand the fact that these days with little believers running around my home at Christmas time will one day be buried in my fuzzy memory. Sure these little believers create a lot of work. Sure, it’s exhausting. But, if I can stop and grasp the thrill of eyes all lit up by the tree and imaginations opened up by wonder and hope brought by a newborn king surely that can seep into my bones and give me all the energy I need to make it through the work.
This year on Christmas morning I want to melt into all the discarded wrapping paper in a heap of happy exhaustion, overwhelmed by all the love and joy (and fun) whizzing around me.