Sometimes, change is good.

I’ll admit at one point I was really frustrated with this Christmas. I was setting dates to meet friends in driveways and planning zoom cocktails. What I wanted was in person drinks, hugs, watching the kids hyped on sugar and anticipation.

Yet, as you will see from blog articles that have come and others to come, I was being reminded to make peace with 2020 and to choose to be happy. Thank you universe for always having my back. Thank you me, for being open to receiving the messages.

I am a planner. I have my Christmas shopping done by the end of November. Holiday dates are set way in advance. Dinner menus usually set way in advance. My husband hates it. He hates the business of the Christmas season. As an IT entrepreneur, the quietest, the slowest time of year (baring no emergencies) is the two weeks that make up Christmas and New Years’. Many of his clients slow down, the others reduced to a skeleton staff. The projects get put on hold and the tickets slooooow down. The one time of year, he can relax and holiday obligations, traditions and plans with friends keep us very busy. Each year he asks me to slow it down. I try… I fail.

This year, I set out to keep things as much the same as possible. For some, I planned masked indoor visits with no food. For others, I tried to replace dinners with driveway visits. I shipped gifts. I thought we could do zoom cocktails. However, lockdowns cancelled the indoor masked visits moving us to driveway visits only. Covid scares put driveway plans in limbo. Families who moved made me re-think existing traditions.

I could feel/sense the stress from friends who also wanted to make things “normal” but were feeling overwhelmed. My husband, who does the driving, expressed his concern to do 3 hours of driving, round trip, for a driveway present drop. Something he totally did in the summer knowing we could have good outdoor visits in the nice weather but was concerned that with the snow and the cold, we would visit for 15 minutes.

I reduced the stress from us and our friends. I reminded everyone that the gifts were not perishable. They would still be there when the stress subsided. My calendar was not as busy and we could plan later when they had time to breathe. Some have already suggested February when the lockdown is possibly lifted and we can return to the idea of a masked indoor visit. Others are just postponing it out a bit. My family has to adjust to the fact that we may do Christmas in May when it’s safer to drive north. I also, reduced the expectation on myself to make it the perfect Christmas for my husband’s Grandmother, who lives with us. Each year, her interest in the holiday drops. First, it was decorating, then gifts, now she doesn’t even wish to join us for Christmas dinner. I realized that I can’t force Christmas on her. If she doesn’t want it, it is what it is.

The result? The most perfect Christmas. No running around keeping up with a crazy schedule. We enjoyed a quiet Christmas morning together. Shared making Christmas dinner with another couple on Christmas day. On boxing day, we had a fire, enjoyed mimosa’s, watched Christmas movies and cuddled on the couch.

I still have Christmas presents in my cupboard, waiting for a present drop. That is ok. When we do get together, we will smile, laugh and enjoy each other. Isn’t that what Christmas is? When I can get up north to see my family I will do so when the driving doesn’t stress me out and I can enjoy the spring flowers and maybe tack on a hike while we are there.

My husband finally got the relaxing holiday he always asked for. He got a nap, he went flying and he stayed away from his computer for 4 days.

Maybe COVID forced this quiet year on me… but I’ll admit, I liked it. Maybe Christmas doesn’t have to be a whirlwind December event… Maybe, it can be whatever we want it to be.

The gift of COVID is that it allowed me to see our traditions a little differently, it allowed me to stretch myself and just go with the flow. It stripped me of my preconceived ideas of how things should be and am just letting them become what they may.

I wonder… what will Christmas look like next year?

What about you? Was there anything about this holiday that you will keep going forward?

“Sometimes the most important thing in a hole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.”

Etty Hillesum