From the title, you may be expecting a post about the best way to frost holiday cookies, or a debate about if a candy cane or bell is a better shape for a cookie. I apologize if I disappoint, but the only thing I know about holiday cookies is how to eat them. (And I must say I’m very good at that.)
I’ve been thinking about this subject because I’m in San Diego, until this Thursday when I’m excited to travel back to South Dakota, where I lived most of my life, to spend the holiday with family and friends from back home.
The same thing that struck me last year, when I spent some of my first December in California, strikes me now. Where’s the snow? Where’s the cold? Why am I not shivering? Why don’t I have to dress in layers? Why is there nothing to shovel?
So much goes into our experience of the holidays: often decorating, feasting, shopping for gifts, listening to special music, gathering with friends and family, maybe the religious celebrations we choose to attend, and even the weather.
We sometimes deal with this mass of activities around the holidays by choosing to go Holiday Numb. Especially if something about this year’s holiday seems very different from our experience of the holidays in years past. Sometimes this experience of difference can be uncomfortable or even painful.
Last year, palm trees, rain and warmth didn’t square with my experience of past holidays, so I went Holiday Numb.
Did my decision to go Holiday Numb mean that the holidays weren’t alive and well in San Diego last December? No, I simply choose to go Holiday Numb.
This December, now that I feel far more settled, I’m allowing myself to look around and feel the holiday on San Diego terms, instead of numbing the holiday out because it doesn’t match the look and feel of past holidays in my memory.
The holiday was all around last year, I was just unwilling to look and feel it.
The wonder of this time of year comes from looking for and being open to feeling Holiday Fun.
However, remember that we are in no way obligated to always feel Holiday Fun during this season. For example, I think of the means of having fun suggested in the carol “Jingle Bells.” “Dashing through the snow on a one-horse open sleigh,” sounds more akin to being miserably cold than fun to me. And this is OK. We are always free to choose what we find fun and meaningful during the holidays, while letting go of the rest.
As changes come into our lives, may we acknowledge the newness of these changes, even the difficult ones. At the same time, may we look, feel and even savor the fresh, newness of this holiday. And may we, most of all, each actively create our own definition of Holiday Fun.
(OK, now I’m going to buy some cookies.)
Game of the Day
Are there any holiday activities that you do not find Holiday Fun that you want to choose not to participate in this year?
How are you going to create your own definition of Holiday Fun this year?