Sidling up to Christmas

I’m sidling up to Christmas carefully this year. I would like to engage with it as a traveler to a strange land who comes to be surprised and delighted with what it has to offer. Unfortunately Christmas requires conscious creation and if no one shows up with lists and tasks and advance planning, the the space for Christmas to arrive does not exist. And in our house, I am the keeper of lists. But my list-brain is overtaxed and reaching exhaustion. I’ve never done the experiment where I do nothing, plan nothing and wait to see if anyone else steps up. I’ll admit that thought is attractive this year when I am tracking and planning so many other things. But it is always unfair to spring a test on other people unaware and unprepared. Doing that sets everyone up to fail. Also, disappointing people is a huge anxiety trigger for me. I would only add to the stress I experience around the holiday, not lessen it. I cannot abandon my usual holiday role wholesale. But I can, perhaps, offload pieces. Make it so that I am not the working solo on a holiday that must always be a group project if it is to function.

To be fair, it has never been only me making Christmas happen. The others show up gifts in hand. They’ve always participated in our shared production of Christmas. But maybe I can let go of being the Christmas taskmaster. I can let us all drift into the middle of December before someone puts lights on the tree. I can wait and see who decides that putting up ornaments is an essential element. I can let go of checking in on everyone else’s portion of the project. I could even abandon any lists related to the holiday and instead do the holiday things that happen to land in that triple intersection of available time, energy, and interest.

It is a scattered approach to a large scale project, but I might be tired enough to pull it off. And it might help me rejoice in the holiday instead of being burdened by it. I would like for this to be a season of rejoicing. It is supposed to be, after all, a joy to the world.