I have not gotten caught up in the frantic pace of 'getting ready for Christmas' this year.
I didn't shop. Well ... I did pick up a few gifts for My Youngest. While I was at it, I tossed a few other miscellaneous items in the cart ... I always like to have a few tricks up my sleeve. Having the odd gift card and gift at the ready is something that I would like to do on a year-round basis. So yes, one early morning I did a little bit of shopping (while I was out getting milk anyway).
I don't bake. Baking is a waste of time, energy and calories in this house. My Youngest eats next to nothing that I have ever baked. My Oldest has a few favorites, but he is living a sugar-conscious life so if he does indulge himself he is likely to take one or two cookies verses one or two dozen. My Middle Son will try most anything. He doesn't eat something just to get rid of it - there must be an enjoyment factor. Otherwise it could sit there forever. Thus ... I have quit baking.
I don't have much of a social life. I cannot say that I miss the Christmas Party Season. Corporate parties. Branch parties. Dance parties. Social obligations of any sort. Any socializing that I do during the Christmas season, is something that I would do the other eleven months of the year. So it is a low pressure season for me. No need to fret about my wardrobe, extra costs or miscellaneous gift items when the party season is next to non-existent.
Cards - my favorite tradition of the season. But this year, I have written one or two when I have the time and inclination. I haven't sat down and made it into a job. It has been light and easy. I have not yet written to everyone that I normally write to ... but I will most likely keep my address book out and continue to write a note here and there throughout the next while. It is a tradition that I want to keep. But I don't want it to become work.
All in all, when people ask me if I am ready for Christmas my answer is a quick and simple, "No" ... I am simply living my normal life and tossing in a few little Christmas bonuses from time to time. A small gathering of the family. Taking in a Christmas play. Being a small part of the school's December 'Fun Night' (especially delightful since my Middle Son volunteered to be Santa for the last shift of the evening).
Little things, easy and fun outings and gatherings. Nothing too terribly out of the ordinary. No pressure is the theme that I am holding onto this year.
Then ... I ended up with a Christmas Vacation from work! Though it isn't a guarantee that I will not be called into work, it is highly likely that I will end up with two weeks off of work.
The first day felt like a Saturday. I puttered just a little bit ... but really didn't accomplish much. It was restful and relaxing. It was enjoyable.
Yesterday was the second day. I had time to write, time to play around with a few ideas and time to take care of appointments and a few errands.
Time. I stopped for a cup of coffee with my aunt and uncle. I shared a cup of tea with a friend. I bought groceries before the last minute rush before the Christmas weekend.
I had time to stop and smell the roses while I accomplished a few little things along the way. No pressures awaited me at home. Just more time.
Upon coming home, the phone rang a few times and I had two wonderful visits with friends in the next province. It was like they were next door.
Yesterday, I felt like I had all the time in the world. Time to say 'yes' to a cup of coffee or a cup of tea. Time to sit still while I visited with friends via a long distance phone connection. Time to write ... time to play ... time to take care of some errands.
Time. Too much of it and it loses its lustre. Too little of it and you are too busy thinking ahead to the next item on your agenda that you don't enjoy the present. Time ... a precious commodity these days. Especially at this time of year.
Give yourself the best gift of all. Take the time to sit back and savor the moment you are in. It is a moment that you will never get back. It is the present. It is a gift.