As we come to the close of the year it is easy to get wrapped up (forgive the pun) in doing everything. So much so that we begin to experience less and less joy in the season. We get consumed by deadlines, vacation schedules, and school performances. There are holiday social and professional obligations, rites of passage, and traditions to observe. Whether we are active in our faith, film, or theater community there will be a moment when we are called to reflect on the meaning of the season. Perhaps meaning is something that transcends all belief systems.
Meaning that cozy, hygge awareness that the rush to do everything strips value from the small generosities that are available to us every day. There’s a lot of, “yes and,” thinking these days. We are no longer one thing we are able to be everything at once. If that feels wonderful to you I’m so glad. If, like me, it feels a little overwhelming to be all the things all the time then I hope you’ll join me in letting go of obligations while keeping the meaning this season.
What is one thing you can let go of or at least put off? Could you send Valentines or New Year’s cards instead of holiday update letters? Could you make hot chocolate and watch a movie instead of a gingerbread house building day where you bake cookies from scratch? Or could you just buy the readymade kits with icing? How can you honor yourself and the season?
The goal of the holidays is not to “Win.” The only prize of this time of year is being fully present and enveloped in the moment. And we can only do that one instant at a time. Maybe you leave one box of ornaments in the basement this year. Maybe you bake the cookies from the freezer section. The memories are not in the complicated logistics. It is not by exhausting ourselves or exerting superhuman energy that we get to enjoy the holiday season.
Many of us are opting for a simpler season and embracing ease. A more gentle close to the year that honors our celebrations and also our collective need for rest. Pushing ourselves to always perform or do more is a fast track to burn out. And when we are burnt out we are too tired to savor and enjoy.
So as we enter this holiday season I encourage you to embrace simplicity and ease. What is one less thing you can do? And if one seems too little, what five things can you take off of your list? Give yourself and your loved ones the gift of ease this season. Release yourself from the pressures to perform, host, and curate. Instead relax, read a holiday themed book, or watch a movie.
My gift to you is this space we share where my only wish is for your season to hold all the deepest meaning and joy with no effort whatsoever.