Halloween tends to mark the official beginning of the holiday season in our home. With the wash of brilliant colors that October brings, it’s difficult not to succumb to the excitement that permeates the cooler air. Plans for pumpkin carving, fall decor, hayrides and cider creates that first wave of excitement that will crescendo until Christmas morning. It’s pure magic, no doubt!
With all of the giddiness and good will that culminates during this season, I long to hang on to every moment and relish it. Ironically, this is also the season that tends to place the greatest demands on mama’s time with school parties, shopping, baking, decorating, etc. It’s so easy to get caught up into the tasks and to lose sight of enjoying time spent together. More than once I have arrived at January swearing that next year I’ll slow down and actually try to enjoy more of the season. This year I am reminding myself of this commitment early on. I’ve decided to balance the demands of the holiday season by making two lists.
First, I’ve written down all of the tasks that I engage in during the holiday season that I actually enjoy and would like to continue. This includes our traditions for each holiday. I bake certain goodies and prepare certain meals. We attend certain parties and participate in certain community events. We do these things because of the immense joy it brings.
My second list is shaping up to be the most important list. This is the list of tasks that I engage in out of guilt, a sense of duty or flat out pressure, self-imposed or otherwise. These are the tasks that I would prefer not to spend time on and this year, this is the list of tasks that I will just say no to. For example, the extra parties thrown by the distant cousin that I haven’t seen since last year’s party. The kids class parties will be just as fun if I provide store bought goodies rather than stay up until 2am tying little gold and brown ribbons to individual baggies of candy corn. The same goes for church functions, store bought apple cider saves me valuable time to enjoy the things I’d rather be doing. There are several things on my holiday guilt list that I will be opting out of this year. As I reflect on my own childhood memories of the holidays, one thing stands out more than any was laughter and the good times. I honestly do not remember what my mother took to my first grade class party, I just remember that she was there. So my goal for this holiday season is to arrive in January relishing the time we spent enjoying the season.
I’d love to hear from you, how do you balance the demands of the holiday season with time spent enjoying the season?