In many parts of the country, of course, Winter is already here. But I live in North Carolina — Sunday I didn’t even need a coat.
However — the seasons are changing. Darkness comes earlier and stays later. My A/C is off and has been replaced by my furnace. I have been lighting my gas fireplace to take the chill off.
Pansies — the official winter flower of the south — have been planted.
Ned Stark of Game Of Thrones fame always made this pronouncement with the same despair as one would announce the end of civilization. Armageddon. The arrival of the Anti-Christ. The. End. Is. Near.
But it’s not. It’s just Life, changing Her wardrobe.
Our mistake is not recognizing this and rebelling against Her fashion sense.
Winter in the northern hemisphere is darkness and cold. It is made for long nights of hibernation and sitting by fireplaces. Hot cocoa with a bit of a something extra thrown in to warm your insides up a degree or so. It is a time to slow down and rest. A time to give all our parts — mind/body/spirit/soul — the long winter’s nap she so richly deserves.
Even in the midst of the coming holiday festivities, we can be wiser this season. We can choose only that which brings us peace and joy. We can politely decline that which adds stress and angst. We do not have to ‘make’ the holidays. We can dive into our own fondest memories and recognize it was never about the ‘stuff’. It was always about the Humans who shared our space.
Years ago, I slowly began to downsize my holiday madness.
First I stopped sending Christmas cards. OH, MY GODDESS! What a blessed relief that was! I was damn near giddy the first year I just…didn't! No one disowned me. No one even noticed.
Then — I stopped participating in all the ‘optional’ workplace craziness. No Secret Santa gift shopping, no grab bag gift shopping, no White Elephant gift shopping, no Dirty Santa gift shopping, no gifts for my bosses, my co-workers, my doctors, or anyone else I just happened to share oxygen with for eight hours a day. No potlucks, no after-work drinks, no Christmas parties. No decorating of cubicles. The time and energy this gave me to focus on other parts of the holidays greatly reduced my overall stress. And truthfully— no one even missed me.
Last year, I let go of some of my holiday baking. I went from baking about twelve different kinds of Christmas cookies to just the ones my family actually ate. I made everyone’s favorite and called it good. I put together a few tins for close friends and family but I didn’t mail out twenty-some packages of Christmas cookies to people all over the country. It was easier. It was cheaper. And I wasn’t left looking a tray full of peanut butter blossoms on New Year’s Day that no one was ever gonna eat.
Do you see the theme here? Doing things that no one notices. Going places where people don’t notice if you’re there or not. Making food no one is going to eat anyway. This is the recipe for unnecessary stress and angst in Your Life.
Just stop it. Right now. I promise you — no one will care.
Just let it all go and only do what brings you JOY! Make this a special gift you offer yourself this year.
Happy Holidays to you and yours — whatever feast you celebrate this winter. May your blessings be many and may Love surround you.