Happy New Year’s Eve, friends! Husband and I are spending the day deep-cleaning the kitchen (our grime demonstrates that we are way grosser than I imagined!) before deep-cleaning our bodies and going out for a classy New Year’s Eve dinner. We learned by accident a couple years ago that we both prefer to ring in the new year with some quiet reflection and together time instead of trying to eat lukewarm party food while trying to play dozens of games with people we only half know, all just to make it to midnight.
I plan to reflect on this past year throughout the next week (which will hopefully cumulate into a blog post), but I wanted to first share a few thoughts from my advent season before they get brushed away with January’s green smoothies and new class schedules. This month of December was pretty busy with piles of finals and Husband’s variable work schedule, but it was also one of my favorites.
For so many years (pretty much every year), I’ve always used December as a time to “build up” for Christmas Day. All light displays, cookie baking, tree decorating, and caroling music were just a warm up for the BIG DAY. I go to advent services and wear red sweaters and mail cards all in preparation for the ONE BIG MOMENT on December 25.
And then I’m disappointed.
Because Christmas Day is great, but not as great as the day my sister and I drank bubbles and watched TV instead of running errands and doing chores. Or the night Husband and I tried a new restaurant and talked about our futures. Or the afternoon when I met up with a friend who I hadn’t seen in months across town during a snowstorm. Christmas Day is nice and I love the presents, time with family, and delicious food, but it’s not everything. I think I like the preparation part better.
So this year, I intentionally enjoyed the season. On its own. As a season. I appreciated visiting the holiday markets because they were pretty and I wanted to see something new instead of using them as an excuse to “get in the Christmas spirit.” I went to church and yoga as a way to slow down and reflect instead of hoping for month-long infusion of festive joy. I spent time with friends because I wanted to see my friends, not because I “had” to before the New Year. I baked cookies for the neighbors because I hadn’t baked for a while and wanted to try a new recipe. I didn’t decorate much because I didn’t feel like taking it all down again. I only went to the malls to watch movies and stayed away from other crowded destinations. I practiced thankfulness for individual experiences instead of lumping everything together as my “Christmas.”
It was wonderful.
I arrived to Christmas Day rested and ready to celebrate, but didn’t depend on my emotions from the day to dictate my feelings about the holiday season as a whole. I felt more in control of my moods and my Christmas experience instead of requiring others to meet my needs.
Maybe I’m late to the game. Maybe this is what “real adults” do every year. But it worked for me.
So, you do you, friends. And I wish you a wonderful holiday season while you figure out what exactly that looks like. Happy New Year!