We expect too much at Christmas. It’s got to be magical. It’s got to go right. Feasting. Fun. The perfect present. All that anticipation. Take it easy. Love’s the thing. The rest is tinsel. – Pam Brown
It has been a busy time this Christmas season. I am going to bed too late (staying up organising things), don’t sleep well (mulling over what I should be doing), and when I am awake I am grumpy, distracted and rushed. Unsurprisingly this is affecting my girls. Bubba Girl in particular (now 19 months), is finding the endless trips to the shops wearying, and is showing her displeasure at being the last priority on my to-do list.
So in the last few days I have intentionally slowed our pace, we are spending more time at home and in that time only choosing a few Christmas activities. The quiet and slower pace have benefited us all (surprise, surprise) but what I have been struck with is the way the Christmas traditions have helped us connect.
I love Christmas carols, each year I get a new CD, and slowly Diana Krall, Harry Connick Jr. and yes, even Mariah, have joined our seasonal selection. However this year the addition to our Christmas collection has been the Veggie Tales. One morning Little Miss snuggled on the couch and listened, while I did dishes and tidied etc, when the lyrics of the song “Was he a boy like me?” broke through to me. The lyric goes “Was he a boy like me? Did he bounce on daddy’s knee? Did he play games to make his mother smile?”. So I stopped the ‘doing’ and snuggled and listened with Little Miss.
The tastes of this season are fresh cherries and mince pies. I spent an evening with my mum baking mince pies as we do every year. My dad puts on the carols, she stands on one side of the kitchen bench making pastry, I stand on the other filling the pies, and we bake until we are done. But it is not just about the cooking, it is always a time of laughter, sharing, and being together. And then, today, we invited some friends over, shared some mince pies (and cherries), and talked and shared, and again engaged in community.
I have found these traditions have stopped me ‘doing’ Christmas and helped me be present in this season. So as the quote above says, yes ‘love is the thing’, but I think maybe sometimes the tinsel is useful, to help me focus again on the important stuff.