December prep

Ah, the Monday after Thanksgiving, with a short stretch between now and Christmas to fill with holiday joys, obligations, to dos, card writing, baking, and, oh yes, the routine work that keeps bills paid and life flowing. It will be a short month! I’m feeling excited and overwhelmed: I have a simultaneous desire to get creative with holiday crafting and shopping, and a need to postpone…to say “not yet!

So, in time-honored fashion, I choose to postpone one task with another. I’m spending a day in between: we’re traveling back to Alaska tomorrow, so I have a day before the madness begins. Today I’ve given to lunch with my husband and a family dinner with our son; to pausing before the holiday rush to gather myself; to organize my lists and review finances; to remind myself that just like every other holiday season of my life, this one won’t be perfect, but it can be wonderful; and to breathe deep and sit still, listen to some holiday music, drink some hot tea.

I’m contemplating resolutions, and my word to encapsulate the coming year. I’m setting the tone, right now. I’m imagining how I want these holidays to be celebrated. I’m planning. Because the truth is, the gifts will be bought and cards written, work accomplished. But I’m setting the attitude behind all of it now. I can go through the next few weeks harried and rushed and get the job done. Or I can choose to look for the humor, feel the joy, smile even when I’m frustrated, remember to breathe. I know the days will be long and the hours short. But I want the good stuff to shine through.

Christmas and holidays are so easily derailed…the expectations, the images that we have to live up to dance across our television screens and in store displays. But I’ve found that there are better things than gifts, and perfect tables, perfect meals. The secret is service. I look for ways to serve, and I am filled. I look for people to serve, and I am found.

“I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy.”  ~ Kahlil Gibran