I have been thinking a lot about the hype of the holiday season and the rush to decorate, buy presents, check off the “to do” list, set the perfect table, plan the holiday vacation to ultimately have the PERFECT Christmas. However, perfection is unrealistic, and our expectations of the perfect outcome often leave us feeling inadequate and disappointed.
I attended a beautiful mass this weekend with my daughter and the celebrant spoke about the gifts we are all given that are meant to be shared. Some of us sing, some can dance, some of us are patient, and some are good listeners and teachers. Some of us are nurturing and kind and make others feel safe and understood. Some are blessed with their words and can tell a great joke and make us laugh. There are also wonderful story tellers we love to listen to for hours. Everyone is born with a special gift. As I listened to the sermon, I felt grateful to be there and to share the hour with someone I love. More importantly, I was encouraged to take stock of the gifts I have been given and to think about how I can share those gifts this holiday season. Over the weekend, I spent an impromptu evening with a few family members. We had no agenda, no fancy meal, and no time constraints. We simply sat at the table, enjoyed each other, shared our worries, and looked at old photo albums. No one watched the time or glanced at their phones and the evening ended on a high note. We shared thank you texts the next morning and it was a good reset for all of us. It doesn’t take a lot of money or fuss to bring magic to the holiday…. or to any day.
This year, I am going to try to encourage my family to focus on each other and to spend time doing the things that bring us joy. Often, the most meaningful experiences come from the simplest things. I don’t know how successful this will be but my “to do” list for the month of December includes movie nights, board games, long walks in San Francisco, a volunteer activity, and gift deliveries for children in need. It will be great to have the entire family under one roof for a few weeks and honestly, that is magic enough for me!