He said something like, "Not so long ago, winter was a cold, dark, terrifying time of year when people were starving to death and afraid the sun might never return. So they gathered together to increase their chances of survival. Over the years this coming together got rebranded as 'the most wonderful time of year.' What was once something so terrible we were lucky to survive is now a month full of obligations that we're expected to not just do but to do perfectly and with with great merriment."
|Drunken carolers - bringing the jolly on Christmas Eve!|
(I took great liberties with that paraphrasing, FYI.)
I happen to think this might be the most wonderful time of year but it can definitely be overwhelming and stressful. Between travel and family and friends and activities (plus, you know, normal life and all the pressure we put on ourselves to be awesome...), I think we might need to set the bar back down to "survive" if we want to actually enjoy it all.
|Thanks, Trader Joe's for the adorably easy gingerbread chalet.|
Lower expectations = more spontaneous happiness. Sounds pretty jolly to me!
I gotta say, it worked for us. I mean, we still did "all the things" - the advent calendar, the Christmas cards, the shopping and making and wrapping and sending, the dreaded Elf on the Shelf, the fancy parties, the kid parties... - but we did it all with a slight case of the fuck-it's.
Our cards were late, our Elf on the Shelf was lazy (to be fair, he did show up with a note that was like, 'Hey guys, FYI, I'm not here to spy on you. I just finished making toys early this year so I'm on vacation...'), and of the two gifts we bought/made, wrapped and sent on our own (everything else we left to Amazon), one came back for an incorrect address.
|Our only Pinterest worthy moment...|
And guess what? Nobody cared a bit! Turns out, all that stuff we think we're supposed to do (and do perfectly!) is only worth doing if you actually ENJOY doing it. Opting out of all of the overwhelming, stressful, "obligatory" stuff gives you lots more time to do the stuff you really like.
It was especially good we weren't trying to set any records because Liam got the flu and was down with a 103 fever for almost a week...
Bill took lots of time off work (he's still on staycay) and we doubled up on our more jolly traditions like drinking mulled wine in front of the TV fire (best show ever!), playing cards, falling asleep reading bedtime stories to the boys, taking the dogs for walks, cooking dinner, watching Elf, eating cheese, playing StarWars and hanging out with solid people. Needless to say, it's been a pretty relaxing holiday. Which is just what we would've asked Santa for if we went anywhere near a mall!
It just kind of got me thinking...I bet if everything was like this, spontaneous happiness would be the norm, not some book we checked out to listen to while cleaning the kitchen. If we minimize what we think we should do to make more room for what we want to do, I'm pretty sure everyone wins.
Hoping you had a wonderfully relaxing (or whatever makes you jolly) holiday. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!