Monday, December 16, 2013

Throes of the Season

Christmas is near. 

I, like many, am feeling the pressure. We pressure ourselves to do more, accomplish much, look right, be perfect, cook the best, entertain endlessly, and check, check, check off of our to do list, never able to complete the list because of the never ending battle fueled by pinterest, others, and our own imaginations. "Wouldn't it be great if we could ____"

Part of me rejects the more. It says that we do more than enough, balancing normalcy with specialness, adding little holiday treats and crafts with our flexible routine of life. It says that enjoying the moments and having the memories are more important than coating them in red and green glitter, homemade snow, and the scent of cinnamon. That part of me wants to treasure each ordinary minute of my day, when Mac caresses my face, when Keegan melts into peals of tickle induced giggles, and when Johnny catches our proud gazes in his direction and smiles and claps. It says that while Christmas memories are important, the every day moments are what sustains us and thus shouldn't be cast away for the date on the calendar. 

Then there is the other part of me, the part raised by a general in Clark Griswald's army of Spreaders of Christmas cheer. I learned from the best. We did it all- cookies, fudge, chex mix, trees, lights, movies, parties, dinners, and plenty more traditions. I loved it. And still do. But I don't know how my parents managed. There is a part of me that wants to push to get it all done. There is so much I want my kids to have and to experience because my Christmases were magical. From Thanksgiving to the New Year, I felt the build up, the anticipation, of this great season. I crossed off days until our next chance to do something great and to be with more people we loved. It all culminated into Christmas Eve and Day where, more often than not, I was too excited to sleep, charged by parties, good food, and the hope for the best Christmas yet. I would never say I was disappointed. 

I want that for my kids. 

But we have to find our own way. Matt and I have old traditions we want to hold on to, but we also have new traditions that we would like to start. We have to figure out what works for our family and what the kids are even interested in pursuing as memories for us. We don't have enough hours for all the "magic" we want to create and we want moments of authenticity as well. As much as my dad was "Clark", the traditions never felt forced or orchestrated, there was always purity in our times together. 

This year, we will not get everything done.  There was a shorter Christmas season and Matt was gone for 12 days after thanksgiving. We are so happy with our family though and are pleased with the "Christmas direction" in which we are headed. We evaluate our time to decide what to hold onto, what to put off until next year, and what to place away in the memory books forever. 

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