Originally posted December 16, 2018
Are you ready for Christmas? I’ve been asked this question multiple times over the last few days and the answer is no. It seems to be on everyone’s mind, from the barista at Starbucks to close family and friends. Of course, part of it is just an easy conversation starter during this time of year. The other part is that everyone is looking for others that are in the same boat of feeling like there is a lot to be done in a short amount of time. They don’t want to feel like they are the only ones not ready and with a week to go before the big days, many are wondering, will I have enough time to get it all done?
The holidays are filled with memories, memories that lay dormant in our minds for most of the year. I love to think of it in terms of the movie Inside Out with shelves in our brain filled with different colored memories. They sit, filed away, until we call upon it and watch it replay in our mind. The memories are colored rich with emotion, often we can recall them like it was yesterday.
One of those memories for me is making sugar cookies with my Grandma. It reminds me of Christmas’s in Kansas, surrounded by family, sweet smelling treats and if we were lucky a little snow. We have continued this tradition with my own kids and this year will be including our cousins in the cookie baking fun. But, like everything, it requires preplanning and coordination of time. A list of all the ingredients must be made, the pantry checked and restocked so we don’t have to run out mid-bake to grab something we forgot. Add it to the list, it’s just one more thing to do before the holidays, but we do it because we love our traditions, they remind us of happy memories of childhood and of people who aren’t with us anymore.
If you think about it, we memorialize the past, by rushing around in the present, to prepare for these holiday events in the future.
It reminds me of a video where young kids were interviewed without their parents. When the parents watched the interviews, their kid’s answers surprised them. When responding to questions about what they liked to do the most with their parents, they didn’t talk about vacations or days at the amusement part, they recalled simple moments like reading together at night or playing a game.
We often overcomplicate things, trying to do too much in too short an amount of time. We stress ourselves out, leaving little or no space to enjoy why we are doing all of this in the first place. When you look back on your memories, what is it you remember? The people, the feelings and the time you spent together outweigh the gifts and the decorations.
So, as we rush around during this last week before Christmas,
It will be easy to feel stressed.
It will be easy to think it’s not going to get done.
It will be easy to think something (or someone) will be late.
It will be easy to think we are letting someone down.
It will be easy to be overwhelmed by the way things used to be.
It will be easy for the tears to wash over you when you are missing a loved one.
It will be easy to get angry at someone in front of you for not moving fast enough.
It will be easy to get frustrated with your child over something minor.
It will be harder to remind yourself it is all okay, prepare what you can and not worry about the rest.
It will be harder to let go of your expectations of how things should be.
It will be harder to remember your presence is the perfect present.
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Photo by freestocks on Unsplash
I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.