The final months of the year always seem to pass at an exceptionally expedited pace. There is the return to school in the still-sweltering heat (at least for those of us in South Louisiana), followed by the first tease of “cool” weather in late September, then the welcomed arrival of Halloween to kick off the “holiday season,” when we all start realizing how late in the year it really is, getting excited for Thanksgiving, but inevitably anxious about Christmas and New Year’s plans.
Where will we go? What will we cook? When are the kids out of school? Which family will be in town? What gift to get for the hard-to-shop-for in-laws? Should we host a party? Have we been invited to a party? Who gets to help get the decorations from the attic? Didn’t we say we’d do things differently this year…
Suddenly, time starts to rapidly accelerate and we all just accept our fate of running around like chickens with our heads cut off, saying empty-but-polite holiday greetings, smiling through clenched teeth as we try to remind ourselves to be jolly and joyful. Year after year, we are sucked into the rush, the hustle, the bustle, the getting here and going there, only to arrive at January 1st with an exhale and a “Wow, those last few months just flew by!” or a “Man, where did December go?”
How easy it is to get swept up in the rush of the holidays and excuse it with all kinds of seemingly-rational reasons: the kids needed those gifts, the party had to be hosted (it’s a tradition!), that work had to be done before the 1st… But what would it look like to make the holidays about pausing and opening up time in our schedules rather than filling all the empty spaces with shopping, cooking, planning, working?
What would it look like if that cup of hot chocolate just had to be sipped, that board game just had to be played, that Sunday drive just had to be taken?
What would the holidays look like if we prioritized presence over presents, taking a walk in the woods over running through the stores, coming home early over staying and working late? What would your holidays look like if you slowed down? What would January 1st feel like if you didn’t look back and wonder where the time went?
We’re asking ourselves the same things and working on a different way of experiencing time this holiday season, too.