I have a confession. I used to dislike the holiday season. I didn’t just dislike the holiday season, I was a first cousin, once removed to the Grinch. Little Cindy Lou Who who was no more than two? Awful. Horrible. Couldn’t stand her. I would grumble and groan, moaning about all the extra work and all the money being wasted. I really hated the holidays.
As a single mother, I was, quite frankly, overwhelmed. I was overwhelmed with working out a schedule so that my children could be with both their father and their mother on Thanksgiving and Christmas. I was overwhelmed with the quest for the perfect gifts. Struggling to put up a 7-foot-tall Christmas tree by myself almost always brought me to tears. But last year, I took a minute to sit in my darkened living room, listening to Lessons and Carols, looking at the Christmas tree all lit up and decorated, and something clicked. The decorations mark milestones in my life, as well as my children’s lives. So what if the tree was sort of cattywampus instead of straight and true? So what if the decorations are battered and over-loved and not evenly spaced? That tree was our little family.
It is so very easy to get caught up in the minutiae of the holiday season. We want everything to be impeccable, and we tend to run ourselves ragged in pursuit of that Pinterest-perfect, Instagram-worthy holiday gathering. But in doing so, we lose sight of what makes the holiday season so special. The excitement of our children in seeing the decorations. The gathering of family, some of whom we may see only once a year. The recipes that bring back memories of loved ones who are no longer with us. We need to take a breath and focus on what’s important. We need to be thankful for what we have.
This year, my little family has welcomed a new member. I was fortunate enough to have married my oldest and best friend in October. We will be working together to make new traditions for our blended family. I’m sure we will disagree on some things, but we will both try to keep the bigger picture in mind. It’s not about the color of the lights on the tree. It’s not about the recipe for the gravy. It’s about creating our family. It’s about creating traditions that our children will carry to their families. So we will be present. We will breathe. And we will be thankful.
We at Tanglewood Moms and Madeworthy wish you and your a joyous holiday season and a New Year filled with peace and joy!
This article appeared, slightly modified, in the November/December issue of Madeworthy.