Thankfully, this is far from what I feel in my home. In my home and in my heart, I hear a constant message to buy less, do less, to settle and be more.
This contradiction can make the most well intentioned holidays stressful. It was a stress I didn't see, or that just wasn't a big deal before I had a child. I could look the other way more easily, or just go along for the ride. Now, with Sly making memories each second of the day, I feel a responsibility to create something meaningful and to free ourselves from activities which don't line up with out deepest goals for family. One part of this is the recognition that he knows nothing about this season other than what we show him. We are benefitted here by the fact that he doesn't watch TV. I can emphasize the things that meant the most to me as a child that I'd like to carry on, the things that I bring with me into each winter: short days, wishing for snow, crackling hot fires, baking treats, candle light in the windows, a sense of mystery & magic, the smell of cinnamon, cloves & fir ...
Some parts of the Solstice-Christmas-New Years-Season are being downplayed, while others are getting a new attention. A large part of crafting our own simple and special holiday season means editing out the things that do not fit our family. Editing. Saying "No", because that gives us more room to say "Yes" to what really matters to us. Creating something meaningful out of this season has nothing to do with doing more, but a lot with doing only that which really matters.
I'd like to edit some stress out of my own life around this season meant for honoring the darkness of winter and then celebrating the return of Light, a promise of birth, life & fertility. Somewhere culturally these meanings were lots to the act of abundant gift-giving. I'm saying "No" to pressure, (most often self-imposed). I'm saying "Yes" to simplicity. I'm saying "No" to lots of presents, and saying "Yes" to home-made and small. I'm saying "Yes" to our small family of 4 (dog included, of course). Saying "Yes" to Light & Warmth. Saying "Yes" to fir and pine tips from the yard and cookies in the oven.
Are you too wanting to craft a simple, meaningful holiday? Perhaps your family dynamics have changed and everyone wants to see the baby while Mama and Papa just want to be at home with the baby? Wondering how to handle the influx of toys and the pressure to buy for others just because our culture says now is the time to buy?
I, friend, do not have the answers. I have stumbled upon some morsels of wisdom and encouragement on the internet that I would love to share for those who feel inclined to re-create or create or edit this season. I do believe that it may be Merry, Bright, and Calm with out a bunch of running around and credit-card spending.
relationship boundaries ... Megan from SortaCrunchy talks about not being responsible for anyone else's feelings but your own, and the dance gift giving/receiving. I love that she talks about changing the norm from asking kids what they are giving rather than what they are getting. A bit ideal, maybe, but I like this emphasis.
give it good ... Ben Hewitt on obligatory gift giving and trying to give it up.
boundaries, suggestions & gratitude ... More from Megan, this time at SimpleMom
and this ...
I saw this floating around Facebook & it spoke to me right now. I need to read this each day, I think.
My wishes to you for a simple, meaningful, merry season, in whatever way you celebrate.