December is a weird month. It seems that Christmas has absorbed all of the month’s importance. It is a looming holiday, a grand marker in the year, a milestone. Christmas is the constant preoccupation that settles in mid-November. Lists, Christmas cookies, traditions, parties, gifts, wrapping, shopping, travel – everything must be planned, organized, and scheduled.
The last three Christmas’s (2010, 2011, and 2012), I was in the middle of moving.
2010 – I moved from Texas to Sweden.
2011 – I moved from one house to another within Sweden.
2012 – I moved from Sweden back to Texas.
I know firsthand that the scramble to accomplish everything can be exhausting.
I have found that focus and perspective are the most effective at combating this sweeping busyness. To me, the entire point of the holidays is to share and express thankfulness with people that I care about. That’s it. It doesn’t matter who was late or didn’t show, it doesn’t matter what you did or did not get from Santa. When you choose the think about the value of your relationships, and to dwell in an attitude of thankfulness, everything else falls away.
After all, relationships are the most important part of life.
It’s amazing how thinking about how much another person means to you can dissolve feelings of tension and anger. It is especially useful to remember during the holidays, when there is a lot of teamwork required, and everyone has their own set of expectations. It can be easy to feel frustrated or disappointed when someone doesn’t follow ‘the plan’.
Thank goodness for our loved ones.
(S and I on our first full day in Texas)
(Video calling S’s family in Tennessee)
(S and I on Christmas Eve, participating in my family’s tradition of dressing up)
(S and my dad putting together one of my mom’s Christmas presents)
(S and Katie on the back porch, set up to read Harry Potter with me)
(My sister playing at her piano recital for her senior year of college)