Well, hello there December!
(ohmygod . . . is time flying or what?)
A new month means it’s time to . . .
Ah, December! That magical month of festivity, celebration, light, merriment, and . . . ritual and tradition. But . . . maybe also that month of high expectation, pressure, stress, obligation, and . . . ritual and tradition.
Never fear, my friends! I’m here to rev you up and start your engines this month by . . . giving you this reminder (and maybe “permission”) to make this month any way you’d like it to be. Because . . . it’s all good!
For many years, Tom and I have hosted a big winter solstice party on the Thursday night nearest the actual winter solstice. (And, yes. Thursday is an odd night for a big party, but . . . with complicated schedules in December, it worked really well and we always had great attendance.) Anyway, it was a Big Deal. Lots of fun. Lots of people. And . . . lots (and lots) of work. Our last party? December 2019. (And you all know the rest of that story. . .)
This year, we decided it was time to bring the solstice party back! We dug out our notes and lists and timelines from solstice parties past. We set the date. We re-vamped our guest list. I even ordered the invitations.
And then . . . “buyer’s remorse” began setting in.
Although we loved hosting that solstice party, we started remembering just how much WORK is involved. The stress. The complications. The time. A week after our decision to go-for-it, Tom looked at me and asked, “Have you TOLD anyone we’re having the party again?”
Nope. The answer was nope.
We decided to bail.
We gave ourselves permission to . . . let that solstice party go. I realize that now it’s . . . gone forever. Because once we decided not to go forward with it this year, we’ll never do it again. It was a tradition . . . whose time had passed. If not for the pandemic, we might still be throwing that party every year. But the pandemic gave us the break we needed to . . . let it go.
And this story, of course, becomes a (sort of) metaphor for December, generally. Just because you’ve always done things a certain way, it’s okay to . . . re-evaluate, to mix things up, to let things go. To bail.
Because whatever you WANT to do, however you WANT to celebrate in December? It’s ALL GOOD.
Maybe you like throwing parties and hosting big celebrations. Go for it! Maybe you like traveling over the holidays. Bon voyage to you! Maybe you like making All the Gifts. Stitch on, my friend! Decorating your whole house? Lots of lights? No tree? Gift exchange? No gifts at all? Decorating right after Halloween? Have it your way — because there’s no right way!
A month of celebrations . . . is a gift to all of us. It’s a wonderful way to end a year. But we need to assess and celebrate the way WE want to celebrate. Everybody does it “right.” Because there is no “wrong.”
“So, put up all the lights, or don’t. Decorate every surface, make every project, sing every song, or don’t. Seasons find a way to sparkle regardless of how well we set the stage.”
— Brandi Kincaid
It’s YOUR holiday celebration.
Do it YOUR way!
December is here.
Don’t wait, my friends!
Start Your Engines!
Amen, Amen, Amen! Well said Kym. Though I will miss seeing our decorations out and having a tree, I am so happy that we are going to TX to spend Christmas with C&M (and M’s family too). Funny, I had just been thinking of your solstice party – I guess because our flight to Austin is on the solstice. Good you are doing what’s right for you!
Traditions are never easy to give up, but perhaps this was one good thing COVID showed us… how to let go.
I did some letting go this year as well, it feels good!
You and Brandi Kincaid are pretty smart! I think your Solstice Party was a wonderful tradition while it lasted, and now you can move on. Our family has done a big Cookie Day for almost 10 years, and every year it gets bigger, louder, more complicated, and chaotic. I went last weekend mainly because Ryan wanted to go as a contributor of cookies. I no longer enjoy the event one single bit, so I’m letting it go (and feeling mostly good about it)!
I think that was the way to go.
The other day I heard a guy on the radio talking about a Christmas Survey. White lights? Colored lights? Blow Ups? People got their knickers in such a twist over what others did for Christmas.
Like you say ………….it’s all GOOD. I may not like a certain decoration. I don’t have to. It’s a great time for YOU DO YOU!!! BTW ….our yard has both kinds of lights. LOL
Right there with you, Kym! I’m focused on how I FEEL instead of what I DO or HOST. Good stuff. (And yay! Tom! So glad he said it! And so glad *you* hadn’t said a peep to anyone.) Enjoy solstice your way.
It sounds like you definitely made the right decision. We had a big Halloween party for many years and then just . . . stopped. It was a LOT of work and when I couldn’t come up with a theme are weeks and weeks of trying to think of one I knew it was time. People were disappointed but . . . too bad. LOL
Good for you!! You have great memories of many great parties over the years, and it’s good to end on a high note!
I’ve been struggling a bit with the Christmas tree this year. It’s hard when there are grandkids in the picture, too, and it’s all so magical to them! Just this morning I looked at my calendar and decided I could get away with not putting up the tree for Airbnb guests at my house this year, and maybe I’d use THAT one for mine (it’s only 6′ tall and SUPER skinny). It’s not the tree so much, though (except for the lights, which is an annual issue)… mostly, I’m overwhelmed by the Christmas STUFF that I have packed away, that I’m keeping for sentimental reasons or just because it once belonged to someone special (some of which I don’t even put on the tree). I seem to be entering a clean-out/purge phase the likes of which I haven’t seen in quite a while, and that stuff isn’t going to go anywhere unless it comes out… but, damn, it’s a busy month! I’ll figure it out… maybe enlist some help! HoHoHo! Thanks for listening. 😉
I vote that you continue to celebrate the solstice — but just made it the two of you. Start a new tradition and make it something you love but without any pressure. I’m fully in support of letting go of things and not feeling you have to do them just because you always have. Life’s too short for that kind of stress.
It feels good to let things go doesn’t it? I wish I had the courage to do a little more of it sometimes. I’m still trying to figure out what my Christmas self looks like this year! 🙂
Great post! I’m totally reevaluating stuff this Christmas. Trying to go with the flow more. And it seems to be working!
My sister and I have let go of certain family Christmas traditions since the pandemic and we keep them in our hearts as good memories. I find it freeing and I feel more relaxed and able to enjoy what I love about the season. Last night we attended the Holiday concert at the university, the first one since 2019! It was so nice to just sit back and enjoy the music and not worry about the next thing on the “to do” list!
I put up all the decorations this year. Something I haven’t done for a long time. I’m loving it. Come January when it all needs to be put away, I might regret it! I’ve only asked one of the boys what their plans are for Christmas. As of right now I’ll be happy with whatever happens. I would like to get to see all the grandkids open the gifts we got them but it can happen whenever. Maybe the covid years were a good way to reset our priorities.
Time passes and things change. My mother would always throw a big Christmas bash the day after we got in from Overseas(where we were working for many years). I would help as much and as fast as I could. Then she died and that next Christmas I did as much as I could when I got in and the rest of the family did food etc, but that was really the last year of that tradition, and it is okay.
Big expectations? I am getting too old, I’m afraid. Besides that, I think everyone has Covid fatigue. My family in general has less enthusiasm than usual this year. The constant vigilance, worry and rearrangement of our lives has taken its toll. And we still have to contend with merchandise and grocery shortages, fewer store and restaurant employees, rampant inflation, etc., etc. etc. It will take us awhile longer to fully climb out of that Covid hole. And we don’t know what else may be around the corner. So if we all just simplify our lives and use our energies to be truly thankful for what we do have – and that is a LOT compared to most of the world, and exercise our HOPE as you have suggested to us, Kym, to believe in a brighter future, I think that is ENOUGH to bring joy to December. And I’m thinking it might not hurt – if I come across it – to buy one new Christmas doodad, little or big, for the house decorations as a symbol of the renewal I want to feel but might not be up to quite yet. (Hope (speaking of) this doesn’t sound too preachy.). Chloe
I so hear you on this. It is so important that we do this all the time but most especially at Christmas when the pressures feel even greater.
What a wise woman you are. I imagine you have some good memories of your parties. Now it is time to make some new ones. I think age, life changes, and the deaths of loved ones have taught me it is ok to let go of things that no longer serve me/us well. My goal this month is to be present to what a day offers.