This kind of holiday doesn’t just happen… Nor does a big-ass tree, replete with crystal icicles, the last remnants of childhood ornaments, and a couple of true heirlooms. And the gifts beneath, wrapped in foil and French ribbon, sprinkled w/ tiny ornaments & feathers.
Nor do holiday cards, or recommendations for colleagues, or even breakfast! It all takes time, energy, and sometimes they’re in short supply.
Despite how much I enjoy my friends, family, colleagues, and even strangers on the bus, I’m actually an introvert. I need huge quantities of ‘down time,’ as we call it in my nuclear family. Meaning: time to putter over the plants that look so lovely behind the table.Time to feed the birds outside the window. Time to drink tea & just be. Even, when I make the time, time to meditate.
Needless to say, this is NOT the same kind of time as the time it takes to put the holidays on. The time to make the main dish, and whatever sides are my responsibility. Time to set the table, set out the serving pieces, etc. Time to make the initial list because w/out a list I’m kind of like Tom Hanks trying to talk to a basketball… And then, of course, there’s actually doing the things on the list!
But you know what I’ve learned, doing this for many years? I’ve come to see that the prep is the gift, really. It doesn’t show — the best gifts often don’t — and it isn’t flashy. And ideally, no one should even THINK about what you did to get ready. Because if they do, they might feel like they should have done something else, something ‘more.’ And that’s not true. But when I’m cooking, or choosing dishes, or even listening to holiday music while I make up multiple lists, I’m thinking of all my family. Of the upcoming holiday time together. It’s enough.
I’m also learning — slow, but sure — that enough is a wonderful word. I am enough. What I get done is enough. And this lovely upcoming family holiday, filled with preparations where I think of my sons & DIL & grandson & nephews & nieces & sisters & EVERYONE coming to our house…? It’s also just right. It’s enough.