The holidays are upon us. It is inescapable. And quite frankly, I have no interest in escaping. I love this time of year. I love the brisk weather, the music that distinguishes this season from the next, time with family and friends, and the comfort of familiar traditions.
I have been making a list of all the ways in which I would like to celebrate this holiday season with my family. Make a gingerbread house, pick out a Christmas Tree, attend Christmas Eve service, make cookies for loved ones, decorate my parents’ home, attend a Christmas Tree Lighting or two, find a neighborhood with great lights, and on, and on. Do you know what all of these things have in common? Time. Time together as a family.
Time is my most precious commodity. I have a limited supply and unlike money, I cannot make more by working harder or working longer hours.
If you read any of the same things I read, you cannot go a day without reading an article about how to simplify the holidays, make them more meaningful and less about stuff, all while making swoon-worthy decorations and home-made feasts. “Skip the mall.” “Buy and gift experiences, not things.” “Cut back on your gift-giving.” “Change your own expectations.” These are all laudable, but they also carry with them guilt. Now it is not enough to decorate and bake and attend holiday parties, but the season should also be infused with the right family activities, the right (i.e., more thoughtful) gifts, and be utterly pin-worthy.
I am ditching the lists of what I should do because it is what I have always done. I am tossing the lists of what I should do because it is how to make this season more “meaningful and beautiful” (according to whom?). Instead, I am choosing to do the things that bring joy to me and to my family and friends. And whenever I have the choice, I choose time. Time to savor the syrupy sounds from the radio, time to snuggle with my boy in his reindeer jammies, and time to share tea and stories with my loved ones. The end result? When I choose time, I also happen to be choosing those laudable goals of a meaningful, simple, and community-filled holiday. One simple choice will bring you to the same result. Join with me to shed the endless to-do lists and the holiday guilt, and just choose time.