The Year I Canceled Christmas...
I've been thinking a lot about my favorite Christmas memories.
Like spending time with my grandfather trying to crack a walnut and keep it whole. Is it possible? It was a trick we didn't accomplish with the dozen or so nuts in the platter in front of us.
Or the time, when I was 6 years old and wrapped up the Sears Wish Book to give to my mother. Looking through the catalog was one of my favorite things about the holidays, so without I figured she'd be just as thrilled with her gift as I was on Christmas morning.
Or the year, with two small children who wanted to shop and very little money to entertain the idea, we took them to a dollar store and gave them a list of people to shop for and free range to choose the perfect gifts. We had no idea that their gifts and imaginations would be the highlight of Christmas morning. Nor did we realize that we started a tradition that spanned almost two decades until the baby of the family decided it wasn't something he wanted to do anymore.
I've loved cabbage rolls on Christmas Eve.
I've love baking treats with love.
Hot coffee Christmas morning, followed by mimosas and a breakfast cooked by the men in the family.
I've loved gathering at my sister's Christmas eve, my brother's Christmas Day, and my parent's for turkey dinner on Boxing Day.
But I haven't loved the stress of long hours working retail.
Or crowded stores.
Or cranky shoppers.
Or going into debt to buy "things" just to have a gift to give.
This year, I decided to cancel Christmas.
We'll postpone perhaps.
But last week I decided that I was definitely 100% cancelling the stress of Christmas.
In an unprecedented year of chaos and uncertainty and wondering what will happen next...I made the hard call of saying NO to gifts.
No to giving or receiving.
No to shopping.
No to spending.
No to stress.
It was a relief to some in my family, and a little heartache to others.
We hope to all be well enough and able to gather in small family groups to eat and play board games and enjoy each other.
And we hope to all still be here for Christmas in July.
The halfway point.
July 25th, for deep fried turkey and huge jenga and washer toss and Santa hats.
Our Christmas tree is up.
The lights are on outside.
The poinsettias are on the mantle.
The kitchen smells like baking gingerbread.
The Christmas music is playing.
The box of clementines is on the counter.
The spirit is still here.
But the overwhelm and the stress is missing this year.
It was a hard call. We've been accustomed to the holidays being stress-filled and exhausting and over-spending.
But not this year.
We'll take care of the young ones because that's where the magic belongs.
But for us big ones, we'll be together, God willing, and that is a gift that I want most of all.
I still cried about it. Prayed about it. Meditated about it. Sat with it.
And chose peace over monetizing it.
It will be strange not frantically wrapping an excess of gifts on Christmas Eve.
But my soul is craving this peace.
And my heart just wants my loved ones safe and cared for and treasured.
I hope your holiday turns out exactly the way you choose this year.
And that your favorite traditions find a way to still happen.
All my love,