I know, I know -- it’s only November. But you can’t ignore the pumpkins in the store displays, and as soon as those come down, you’d better be ready for snowmen and candy canes. Friends, the holidays are upon us, and if you are like me, this normally triggers a sense of dread in my gut when I think of all that I must do, bake, purchase, wrap, and most importantly, remember to bring with me.
In 2020, many of us had a holiday season that looked much different than years past. Up until a few days before last Thanksgiving, my family was planning to eat the meal with our coats on while all the windows in the house were open for airflow. Someone finally suggested that if we were serious about being safe, we ought not to have Thanksgiving under one roof. Since the food was already purchased, we each prepared our dishes and did a porch drop off.
I don’t have too many nice things to say about the pandemic. They are mostly the type of thoughts that I should keep to myself because they are neither kind nor helpful to me or anyone else. One positive thing I can say, however, is that my 2020 holidays were simplified. Yes, it was against my will. It was also an opportunity to look at things in a different light. Some of those things became lessons I want to carry with me into 2021 and beyond.
- I cut back on the food I had to buy or prepare to bring to other people’s houses. No time or money was wasted on food that no one liked. I got to select meals I knew my kids would eat and didn’t have to tell them to “Just try one bite,” to be polite. Leftovers were in reasonable amounts and were dishes that we wanted to eat.
- I didn’t host, so I only displayed the decorations that really made me happy. There was less clutter strewn about my home and there was less to clean up after New Year’s. This resulted in me seriously questioning the rest of the stuff in the holiday storage totes. Why did I have a Santa Claus music box shaped like an egg? Hasn’t this snowman’s carrot nose been missing for a few years? I saved the few things that had sentimental value or that really brought me joy and trashed or donated the rest.
- The best part was that I didn’t have to rush around. I ordered stuff online instead of going to stores. I stayed home and spent more quality time with my kids instead of going to events. It was so much more relaxing than the typical hustle-and-bustle.
This year, I’m going to re-evaluate my holiday obligations. Even if it’s safe(r) to go out, maybe I won’t. Perhaps the pandemic taught me that less is more. Or perhaps I’m letting myself off the hook for things that I felt others expected of me. Either way, it feels good.
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