Christmas Choices

Tis the morning of Christmas, sort of, in my part of the world, and I’ve been debating whether or not to publish a post today. I say “sort of” because we’re having our Christmas celebration with my brother this evening because he heads back to his home in Florida tomorrow. Then we have a Christmas Eve celebration with my husband’s family, all 60-80 of them, on Christmas Eve for which we cook and bake and do massive preparation, not because we have to but because we choose to. We make beef barbecue, meatballs in sauce, little sausages in sauce, three kinds of cheeseballs and nearly 100 dozen cookies. My husband and I love to cook, so we’re happy to do this as a gift to my sister in law who hosts our family on Christmas Eve and her husband’s family on Christmas Day. Our Christmas Day will be different since we’re waiting to celebrate with our immediate family until December 27th because my oldest will be away on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We will host a brunch for our mothers and have been invited two other places to share in the joy of the day, and we will go, with more goodies in hand. Did I mention that we like to cook? So, it’s busy in Bemmesland, but it’s mostly filled with joy, and that’s why I decided to post.

This has not been our easiest holiday season. Because of the release of Happiest Holidays, I did not do as much pre-planning as usual. We traveled to Florida for our son’s last Disney trip with his high school marching band, and we traveled this past weekend for my oldest son’s college graduation. I wasn’t as consistent as usual, and it’s showing because I’m usually ready by today, and this year I’m not. I have moments of overwhelm I haven’t felt in years, but the blessing in that is knowing that this holiday is not about whether my house is spotless, my food is perfect or even if I have all the right gifts. With one son who is moving to another city and who will be getting married next year, another son who plans to work away from home for the last quarter of the year and a third son, my baby, who will be graduating from high school in a year and a half, this holiday season is about enjoying each of them as much as I can and letting the rest be what it is. It doesn’t matter that the lights went out on the top third of the tree or that there are no wrapped gifts underneath. What does matter is spending time with the ones I love and hoping that other years when the calendar isn’t quite so busy, we’ll have time to get a tree that lights up fully and presents that are wrapped more than a few hours before they’re opened.

Today, we’ll be having a late dinner because my kids want to go to see Rogue One as a family. I thought about staying home and getting more accomplished, but then I thought about what I want their memories of this Christmas to be. I want them to be great memories of experiences we share and spending time together, not mom skipping out on the fun to do her work. I wonder how many times I’ve done that over the years, opted out of the fun because of self-imposed “shoulds” or “have tos” or “needs”. I caught myself doing that this morning. I should stay home and get the house in order. I should wrap more gifts. I should do some training for an upcoming job. If I choose any of those, what message am I sending to my family? I’m saying that a spotless home means more than time with them. I’m saying that the appearance of having it all together is more important that having memories with them. I would be doing the opposite of how I feel about the season and my family and how I want to live my life. So, again, why am I spending time on this blog post? I’m doing this to remind myself in years to come that I made the decisions that align with who I want to be, and maybe to inspire others to do the same.

It’s currently 11:30am in my part of the world and I have to be ready at 2:30pm. I will have this blog published by noon and will then have a quick lunch. I’ll take a shower and have my family help me with laundry, running the vacuum and clearing the tables. I’ll have my husband help me start the ham, and we will pre-fill the pans with water that the vegetables will cook in after we come home. I will finish the loaf of bread that is in the bread maker now and make another batch of dough if time allows, and I will go to see this movie with my family and enjoy every minute. If I remember, I’ll take a picture and post it to the Happiest Holidays Facebook page. If not, I’ll just enjoy the moment and will catch up with you all next week.

My wish for you this holiday season is to have the season you wish for yourself. Whether it’s joy or peace or contentment, I hope you get as much of it as you want. For me, it’s a mix of joy and fun and enjoying my friends and family because every moment means something to me, even sitting in a dark theater with those I love best. Happy Solstice. Happy Holidays. Merry Christmas. Happy Chanukah, and as always, thanks for being you and have a great day.

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