Managing To Do Lists and Expectations at Christmastime
I’m sitting here with my morning coffee; my Christmastime to do list looms large in front of me with only days remaining before Christmas. Finn has been battling a cold (again) and this time it has hit hard in the sleep department. His fevers and congestion have been bothersome especially at night. Pour me all the coffee as we get through this. From what I hear this cold and fever is going around, so while you’re at it, pour yourself a piping hot mug. While I’ve been busy battling the lack of sleep and full-time work, and the latest – a bout of the 24-hour flu – Christmas has snuck up on me.
As my Muskoka Maple coffee cools enough to drink, I look around myself and see mostly half-starts at readying for Christmas. Our tree – an abandoned effort after Finn smashed together a few of our glass ornaments – showcases only some of the usual decor. Citrus I sliced for garland around the house is a charred mess on the stove. After the dehydration process became stretched out over days, I forgot the citrus was in the stove Joel preheated for our Sunday dinner.
As if these disasters and half-starts weren’t enough, I’ve yet to indulge in many of my favourite Christmastime rituals. There is no Christmas baking to sweeten these moments with. The few presents I’ve managed to round up for family remains unwrapped. Hardly any of my Christmas carolling favourites have been overplayed.
To be honest, I find life with a toddler to be quite busy in the day to day, and not tending to all the details of the season
Of course, we have introduced Finn to his new favourite, The Polar Express, but I haven’t been watching nearly enough of the Christmas classic films that always add to the feeling of Christmas. Though, I have to admit that I’m a sucker for the made for TV holiday specials and more than a few of those have been consumed.
While all of these things – the baking, the Christmas classic films, the carols, the shopping and bountiful gifts – have contributed to my feelings of Christmases past, their absence now p Christmastime means more than these minor details of readying for the season. It’s about creating the spirit in the richness of those slow moments with others.
Ways to take it slow over the holidays
Rather than seeing our practice of the season as a deficiency, we’ve been trying to see it as an opportunity to slow down this Christmas. Instead of focusing on the missteps, we’ve been trying to savour the time with family, and take in the small details an moments of delight with Finn. In doing so, we give Christmas a new meaning for our family, one that celebrates the things that truly matter. A focus on service, experiences, and giving, but still wanting to make it special for all of us. Practicing gratitude. Discussing what gives meaning to the season for each of us and choosing to spend our limited time doing those things. Giving ourselves grace in moments of ruined projects and unrealistic expectations/missteps in the season.
All of this is a practice. Perhaps it’s something you can incorporate into this season too.
In the meantime, I’ll share with you photos of a Christmastime tradition we got right this year. During our laid-back day at my sister and her husband’s farm, we went in search of our very own Charlie Brown Christmas tree. It was a relaxed affair, leaving us to enjoy the company of one another, while checking something major off our to do lists.
This may be the last time that I post before the craziness of Christmas kicks off, so be well mamas, as I know that often preparations land on you during this busy season. Savour these days and your traditions. Wishing you joy-soaked tears from time with your happy, healthy babes leading up to Christmas.