By the time you read this the holidays, in all their glory, should be far enough behind that you can reflect on them. As you look back on the past six weeks or so, I have this to ask: Was it worth it?
If your days were full of family and fun did you give hugs and kisses and lots of laughs? Did you extend grace for the occasional misstep, raw nerve or misspoken word?
There are so many facets to the holidays. Do you like the endless loop of Christmas music or does it make you want to gouge out your own eardrums with a candy cane? If yes, do you prefer the old classic chestnuts, roasting by an open fire? Or are you more of a pop rock, new age, possibly country Christmas kind of person?
Artificial tree or real?
(That one can cause deep fissures in a household. I think “type of Christmas tree preferred?” should be included in premarital counseling for Christian couples). If real tree, are you a die-hard, cut-your-own type with visions of traipsing over hill and dale to find “just the perfect tree.” Or are you content to pick one up from the grocery store parking lot? Live tree with ball to plant and cherish forever? Or cut tree to continue the circle of life from tree farm to mulch?
When it comes to gift presentation, presuming you gift, you can drive yourself mad deciding what the “right” way to do that might be? Are all gifts wrapped? Only some? From Santa or not? (Don’t even get me started on the pro- or anti-Santa crowd). Are gift bags charming or a wrapping-challenged cop out? Do gifts appear under the tree throughout the season, or magically appear all at once late Christmas Eve (or the gifting occasion of your choosing).
The truth is there are so many traditions and tried-and-true choices to make throughout the holiday that some years it can seem like you blinked and missed it. That the holidays went by in a blessed blur of savory foods, twinkle lights and “oh you shouldn’t have!”
The new year can seem a refreshing change in more ways than one. As delightful as the holiday season can be, it can also be exhausting. There is something to be said for the blank slate that is, for most of us, January.
Oh sure there may be a few birthdays here and there and aren’t we happy to have them? For the most part, however, January is kind of a non-starter as far as momentous occasions, special decor, or specific meal planning goes.
I think what January — and the new year — gives us is a chance for reflection.
Was it worth it? What went well during the holiday season and all the year through? What didn’t? What would you, could you, change if you could? Did you make all the cookies? Buy all the gifts? Make everything just as “perfect” as movies and our own polished memories would have us believe that holidays were and always should be?
My guess, if we are being honest with each other, is “no.” Few things are ever quite as perfect as we wish. If 2012 taught us anything it is this: So much is out of our control. There are horrors deeper than the mixed up recipe or the “wrong” gift. It’s always sad when the magic of the “holiday season” seems to fade.
When you think back on everything you made this past holiday season ask yourself this: Did you make memories? Make moments? More importantly, did you make them last? Did you take photos? Videos? Or did you, at the very least, (and sometimes the most important) take a moment to take it all in and live in the moment.
We can live like kids at Christmas; we can wish, and hope and dream. I think we should work really hard to take that “magic,” that dash of kindness, that hint of wonder, with us throughout the next year and every year.