For the seven years that I’ve been a parent, I’ve wanted to crawl into a box for the entire month of December and come out on the 25th.
Between the pressure to make it amazing, the family invasions, the prep-work, the parties, the cards, the trips to the post office and the tiny details – so many tiny details swirling in my brain –it’s a full time job to keep all the “joy” going and still stay (relatively) sane.
But this year is different. I promised myself I would plan ahead so I could take things slowly. And it’s working. We’re in the homestretch, I just learned my husband hasn’t even opened my Google spreadsheet of tasks – and yet, I have not lost my chill.
So here’s what I think: the magic has hit me early. Slowing down and putting less pressure on myself to make things perfect has helped me stop and enjoy the small sweet moments that usually fly by.
So if you need a little magic, here’s a list of ways you can feel that holiday spirit any time of day. Let it channel your inner child and stretch out your holiday joy. What would you add?
- Reading a book next to a roaring fire
- Holding a small mittened-hand
- Seeing a ridiculously bright and “loud” holiday display in the middle of a “classy” neighborhood
- Making a wall of happy-faced holiday cards
- Catching a bright reddish-orange sunset
- Experiencing that rare quiet car/house
- Getting rid of some junk around the house in an office Yankee Gift Swap!
- When you catch your kids with whipped cream/hot cocoa on their noses
- When they catch you with whipped cream/hot cocoa on yours
- Dressing up/sipping free drinks/dancing at a holiday party
- Waking up from said holiday party knowing that you behaved yourself (relatively)!
- The beauty of classical holiday music (aka not Santa Baby)
- Overhearing your kids talk excitedly about giving gifts
- Jumping on the poppers that come in shipped boxes
- The way your body warms up after you come in from the cold
- The warmth you feel donating gifts to a less fortunate family
- Watching old holiday videos of the kids
- Letting the kids “camp out” under the Christmas tree for a night
- When a beautiful light display makes you stop and appreciate winter
- Singing “Fa la la la la” at the top of your lungs
- Bringing a senior neighbour cookies or a small gift
- Watching your parents share an activity with your kids
- Reliving your favorite Christmas movies snuggled with your kids on the couch
- When someone else is cleaning up your messy kitchen!
- When you eat gluttonously and can shrug it off as “holiday indulgence”
- Running errands for someone who might need extra help
- “Elfing friends” by leaving treats on their doorsteps and running away (similar to Boo-ing!)
- Sitting in a quiet room with one of your favorite people and just talking
- When visiting family takes your kids out to play
- Dogs and cats wearing holiday outfits
- Kid joy
- Feeling really, really grateful
I think what I’ve learned that the magic is all around you, no matter how hard – or how little – you work to create it. So I wish you a happy, magical month of December. May you be able to slow down and soak in some of the merriest moments around you. And keep it alive well into 2016.