A very mellow holiday

I keep forgetting that Christmas is next week.

We have a partially decorated Christmas tree. Cookies. I’m in the middle of wrapping presents.

And yet, it does not feel like December 15. I’m going to blame this partly on the weather, thanks to El Niño and climate change. I think it’s also part and parcel of the day-to-day structure of my life, which is more solitary. I’m not counting down the days until vacation and getting away from my coworkers. I’m not scrambling to figure out travel plans. These are normal days. Not because every day is a vacation for me, but because I do get to decide when I do or don’t work on projects. And we’re in kind of a lull as the companies and organizations I work with prepare for their own breaks.

It’s probably also part of being a young(er) adult without kids to think about or in-laws to visit. Mostly this holiday season, I’ll be spending time with friends and a few family members. There are no traditions I need take part in if I don’t want to. In fact, the only traditions I’m keeping are my own small, personal traditions. I am, in a sense, liberated from the winter holidays. And I decree they shall be mellow.

But I like Christmas. It’s no Halloween, but it has its share of ghost stories. I enjoy giving gifts–I like getting them, too, whether they’re books someone thinks I should read or art or donations to causes I support. Most of the time we don’t get a White Christmas here in Maryland so although the warm weather is disturbing, the lack of frozen stuff on the ground isn’t terribly unusual.  Christmas trees smell amazing and I dig decorating them. We’re past the point when I’ll refuse to listen to holiday music. Bring on the alt rock Jingle Bells.

I’m of the opinion that the less emphasis we place on the holidays, the better they tend to go. Building Christmas up to be this huge event often leads to disappointment and unnecessary stress. Not that you should be pessimistic about it–more like, let’s make Christmas a good day. Let’s have fun. Let’s appreciate each other. Let’s love the moment we’re in.

Let’s not stampede to the mall on December 26.

How are your holidays shaping up?

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