Our holiday was such a lovely one, I wanted to share a bit of it, plus a few goals for the new year coming up. I touched on this a bit before, but this is the first year I have felt pretty disillusioned about Christmas. Which for anyone who knows me, it’s pretty strange.
For many years, I have LOVED everything about Christmas. As I was reflecting on why I was so strongly attached to it, I realized that it mostly came from a period in my early twenties. Back then, I wasn’t able to travel home to my parents’ house to celebrate due to a lack of resources. There was a couple of years where I felt very depressed about this. Nostalgic for the magical Christmases of my childhood. But then, I picked myself up and decided to make the most of it. I would create fun things to do for my holiday agenda. My husband and I even hosted Christmas parties for a few years. It was fun for us to create our own traditions around the holiday. Having kids added to the fun too, of course. Getting to see the magic through their eyes is still one of my favorite parts of it all.
But for some reason this year, something shifted. The holiday season went from being fun and magical, to overwhelming and daunting. I think part of it might be that we now have lived here for three Christmases, so we have more activities that naturally fill our agenda. Part of it is that we have three kids, two in different schools, each with their own set of parties and activities. And of course we still have our families to see and spend time with.
The other thing is, and I might loose some of you here, we don’t consider ourselves Christian. We don’t really follow any particular faith, actually. To simplify a bit, we both grew up in homes where faith was open and left up to us to decide. But also where we celebrated most of the Christian holidays. So really, I feel we do it just because, well, it’s tradition. And herein lies my inner conflict. If all of this celebrating, shopping, planning, cooking, decorating, baking, partying, etc. is for a holiday we don’t really believe in, why are we doing it?
To be clear, I have the upmost respect for all religions. I think there are beautiful aspects to them all. I love learning more about them from my friends and wherever I can. At the same time, I am not really seeking to be a part of any of them.
This leads me to new year goals. Side note: I don’t really like the term “resolutions” because I feel that nothing can be “resolved” simply by stating that it will be. So each year, I set goals + intentions for the coming year instead.
This year, I want to do less. I get easily overwhelmed and I often take on too much. I feel guilty when it seems like everyone around me is doing so much more, and I should be doing more too. But I know my limits, and I have to listen to them.
My goal is to do fewer things, with more intention. Keeping busy is fun, but so is slowing down. I write that here to remind myself it is true.
This year I want to simplify my life by simplifying my space. This is a process I started last year, by purging a lot of my own closet, as well as things my husband and I have just accumulated over the years. I can’t wait to do another round of purging soon. And to keep it simple by keeping only things that bring me joy.
This year, I want to be more of my authentic self. This is another work-in-progress goal that can apply in so many ways. To me, it means only taking on projects that genuinely fit with me and my family’s life – whether it be work, school, traditions, etc.
I’m still not sure what next Christmas will look like for us. But I think with these goals, we will find the right answer by then. To be honest, this year, as I started to question our path, I also felt we were already too deep in it to make any real, significant changes. I did take back a lot of the things I had bought. I’m glad I did. I’m sure next year we will still keep some of our traditions. But I know it will be much more minimal. Lately that Walt Whitman quote has been ringing in my head: “We were together. I forget the rest.” I hope we teach our children the importance of family, togetherness, love, compassion, and gratefulness. No matter how we celebrate this season. If we can do any of that for them, I will know we at least did something right.