Tuesday, December 20, 2011
**Breakfast with Santa. Drummer looks nonplussed.**
**Who is this guy, mom?**
It's true that the holidays can be a little crazy. There is a lot of baking, wrapping, shopping, mailing, caroling, writing, and decorating to be done. And by the number of articles I see about reducing holiday stress, this is a pervasive issue.
I'm not immune to December getting crazy, though I think I reduce my stress by reducing expectations for myself. i.e., I am not the mom delivering plates of 10 varieties of homemade cookies (though I will decline to say how many of those received that I have eaten!)
**Cookies that I did not make, but have enjoyed tremendously. c/o my MIL.**
But any time I start to get stressed, I make myself think about the Christmas's of just a few short years ago.
**I had my eye on an a semi pricey advent calendar, but wanted to save money. I found this DIY on Oh Happy Day and am pleased as punch with the result. Hopefully next year I'll actually put things in them.**
I've always been a Christmas junkie and so the medical student/resident years were especially hard during the month of December. I wanted so much to bathe in the holiday spirit--to sit by the twinkle lights, go see the nutcracker, and drink hot chocolate at home by the tree. Working the hours I was, that just wasn't going to happen. I would dream of a Christmas Future where I would get to indulge all of my Christmas fantasies.
**Our mantle came with a plug right in the middle. Hooray for more twinkle lights!**
In order to quiet the longing for a month of Holiday Immersion, I'd bring my ipod shuffle to work. Clipped inside my coat where no one could see, I'd put one earbud in, tucked under my long hair. The Christmas carols played on a loop while I walked around the hospital; writing orders, checking on patients (I hit pause!), and answering pages. It helped--my own tiny connection to the holiday season.
**Hark! Drummer spies a train at a gorgeous exhibit we visit every year.**
Now that I'm living that Christmas Future, I feel like I'm duty bound to enjoy it doubly for all the years I couldn't. But I also remember with fondness my small efforts to make the holidays work within the season of life that I was. Because as much as I adore all the parties and gift exchanges, I know that's not what it's really about. For me, it's about the birth of our Savior, back in the meridian of time. And the magic of that was as present with me in my scrubs and clogs, in the four white walls of a hospital, as it is now in my cozy home with carols blasting.
**My connection to Christmas.**
My Christmas wish for you is the same whether you are having an ipod-shuffle-in-your-ear kind of Christmas or a month of Christmas Immersion: That at least some corner of it be Merry and Bright.