Is it just me, or does it seem like time speeds up around the holidays? It doesn’t matter where I’ve been in life, time seems to enter a sucking vortex towards the end of the year. Every year I have plans to be more clever, more efficient, more thoughtful when it comes to the holidays, and each year I hear myself getting snappier and more impatient with the demands made upon me. “A Christmas list? I don’t have time to think about what you could give me to make my life easier!” That’s right, I’m an ungrateful troll.
So in an attempt to keep this holiday-troll at bay, I make lists. I gather supplies. I get excited about what I can make for friends and family, and I set out to learn whole new skill sets to accomplish my goals. This year, a laser-etched arduino-powered cribbage board with hand-carved pegs! Knit socks in decadent colorways for everyone in the family! Infused liqueurs with home-grown fruits and herbs! But let’s face it, last year, I taught myself crochet so I could make a friend a beautiful sampler afghan. It’s almost done! It’s right next to half a sock I started knitting the year before. Oh, and I don’t grow fruit.
Still, every year I pride myself in how this year I will make simple gifts for family and friends. I will eschew consumerism! I will not fall prey to deep discounts and crowded malls. I will not find myself waiting by door to accept delivery. And yet, come December 24, you’re likely to find me trying to hide my face in the endless queue at whatever store is still open at midnight, arms rammed full of manufactured goods that no one really needs or will remember, promising myself that next year I will start in May!
Let’s get real.
I didn’t start in May. I will probably never start in May. But maybe one day, I will learn how to think mindfully about the holidays and what they mean to me. I will think about my loved ones and what they mean to me. I will simplify and know that it is enough. I will learn that it is for the best of everyone that I find time to breathe and to let go. One thing no one wants for the holidays is a cranky troll – I have at least learned that.
To be honest, I don’t remember the gifts I receive from year to year. What I remember is the time I get to spend with friends and family. So this year I will try to make myself a simple gift: the gift of time. Time away from a computer, away from responsibility, away from my self-imposed pressures. Time to spend with my loved ones. After all, isn’t that the best gift we can give?
Ok, I’m still going to make something for everyone I can. I mean, c’mon, it’s what I do! But reflecting on this helps me remember the point. So how do you handle the holidays?