Last year was a very different Christmas for me. My husband was out of town for a few weeks, so I decided to do all of the fun Christmas things I never seemed to have time for in the past – Middle School plays, chorals, shopping, cookie exchanges, galas. I did a lot of festive activity and it was wonderful! I was busy and happy.
This year, I noticed myself getting more and more anxious as holidays approached. I had planned on trying to repeat last year’s experience, but honestly… I don’t want to go out a lot this year. I don’t feel very Christmas-y. I don’t want to spend money on event tickets. My schedule doesn’t even seem to be matching up to the events that I went to last year. Why did it seem so hard this year to make it happen? It all felt so forced. I finally asked myself, “What DO I want? What do I need THIS year?” Last year, I needed some busyness and company to stave off loneliness since my husband was out of town. This year, my husband is here, my extended family won’t be in town for Christmas, and I’m feeling burned out with the rush of a very busy 2012. This Christmas, I need peace. I need some quiet and space. So, I’ve decided to focus on Advent this year. I went out and bought a pretty candle to burn while I read my Advent devotional each morning. The thought of a ritual, something special, every day is so appealing. Those little preparations are bringing me joy and they just feel right.
In naming what I needed, I gave myself permission to back off on the pressure to make plans. I’m hoping that the extra space in my calendar will also allow for some more time with people I love. I’m feeling at ease… looking forward to a different Christmas.
What do YOU need this Christmas?