It seems that after Thanksgiving and before Christmas is the busiest time of year for many people. Work, family, shopping, decorating, parties, and just a general rushing around before the lull after the new year keeps everyone extra busy. And my life is no exception. This year has been an wonderful mix of everything and the kitchen sink. But it has been glorious. I don’t think I have ever been so happy about being so tired and overwhelmed but so happy.
And that is the thing about this time of year, it is crazy, joyful. sad, overwhelming, hard, soft, and everything in between. As we get ready to let go of the old and ring in the new while holding down the fort, decorating the tree, and wrapping it all up, it’s easy to need a moment of quiet reflection to take it all in.
Work has been crazy with starting a new contract and wrapping another one up, and there have been very long hours, little sleep and dark circle under my eyes. But the work has been meaningful with a wide audience. And then there is all the decorating. My wonderful man loves Christmas and the more Christmas lights there are the better. We only had time to put the trees up last years because we moved in 2 weeks before Christmas. So this year we had to make up for lost time.
The yard is fully lit, as in we don’t even need to turn on the outside security lights. We could pull up a chair and read a book it is so bright. And it is beautiful. The inside is just as bright with the garland and lights up the staircase, down the banisters, along the hearth and on mantle. The decorations are everywhere, wreaths hung, and every trip to the store is a “oh, this would look good…”
But the best thing for me, is looking at my man’s face as he looks around at our home, and he smiles and lets out a contented sigh. “It feels like Christmas,” he says, beaming from ear to ear, unable to hide his child-like enthusiasm for the holiday season.
And so we launch into the social aspect. This past weekend was the neighborhood Sip,n Stroll, where houses set up tables of drinks for adults and children, along with snacks, music, as other neighbors have a chance to walk around, sipping and meeting your neighbors. It rained but that didn’t stop us or our festive visitors who came with coats and umbrellas, eager for some spiked apply cider and good conversation. It was glorious and fun. We were going to have a blow-up movie screen playing A Charlie Brown Christmas, but the wind lifted the screen up and sent it flying down the driveway, with me chasing it in the rain. Another time, on a still night, then.
Celebrations continued the next day with a Christmas party for friends that went from 1-11pm. Everyone was there to eat, drink, and be merry, as we opened gifts, laughed, and enjoyed being with good friends that are our chosen family. Indeed the event was full of surprises and an over abundance of love.
And that is the thing about being with someone who loves the holidays as much as you do – you get to have a great time, even when exhausted. Because you are making memories and creating a home. The truth is, the holidays are still a little hard for me after losing so much of my family. I still miss my parents and always will around this time of year. And that’s OK.
One of the things that I realized over the last few days is that in addition to loving my man very much, I am also very thankful for him and his family and friend oriented view of life and the holidays. I love the fact that he loves celebrating Christmas for all of his friends and family, and now we get to do it together. His has a life – giving way, meaning that he gives and loves with all he is and all he has, which is similar to myself. And when two givers get together, magic happens.
The holidays were hard the last few years of my parents life because they were so sick and I was the one who did and created the holiday magic for the family. And I always felt like I failed at it a bit because I wasn’t as good at it as Mom was. And I was creating from a deficit as Mom and Dad were so weak and siblings weren’t really interested beyond collecting gifts. It was exhausting to do myself, to bridge the deficient. After the family was gone. I created out of desperation. I didn’t want to be alone, so I invited everyone I could and tried to establish as many “new traditions” as possible since the old ones were gone. The thing is you really cannot create that way and you can’t force it either.
But now we are creating from a place of love, peace, and abundance, and it makes all of the difference. Everything is multiplied and nothing is forced. It’s all easy and flows from our hearts to those whom we love and back again. And that love, our love, lights up the sky, lights our hearts and lights our path as we make this life together. It lights our life and makes celebrating effortless. All the work is worth it. And maybe that is the secret of life and love, find someone who makes it all worth it, even when you are tired.
Life is short. Celebrate it. Decorate it. Share it. And make the most of it. Because we only get this one little life for a short time. Make it spectacular. Make it lit up.