A Yuletide post

Happy Holidays to one and all! No matter what you celebrate, I hope you have a great time this year. Heavens knows we need it.

One of the things I want to talk about with this post is the importance of making space for yourself, of making time to be quiet and small in vastness, to be lost and still. So much of the time, especially leading up to the last month of the year, we find ourselves running around frantically. Searching for gifts, bombarded with music and lights and stimulus cutting through the dark. There is definitely a good part to this. It’s nice to have warmth and light and cheer in the face of the steadily lengthening nights, the often crummy weather, but we pay a price for that cheer. Nothing is free. The price is often in our sanity, in our time alone, in our comfort and health.

We can, if careful, balance ourselves, and use these bright moments to power us through the long, dark month of January into the snowy brightness of February and the gusting winds of March. But for many of us, especially us introverts, that requires care.

I have not necessarily been taking care of myself lately. I’ve been juggling too many things – there are a lot of things, after all, that go into a wedding, not to mention the normal stresses of a Christmas season. I do celebrate Christmas, after a fashion. It’s a pseudo-secular version – no babies in mangers or anything, just pretty holly branches and candles and shiny lights. I partake of presents wrapped up with bows and good food shared with the family, though our food is enchiladas and homemade salsa and rice and beans. Christmas to me is chili peppers and Kahlua and pine needles. I rationalize it by saying that most of the Christmas traditions were stolen ones, but you know, it’s really just easier to go with the flow on this one. The lights are so pretty, after all. The house is warm, the songs are familiar. And I don’t mind a holiday that’s about giving. One of my favorite things is to pick out gifts for people. Books are the most fun, because you get to hear how they liked it afterwards. But kitchen supplies and gourmet coffees and star maps and little rocket ships have all featured on my gift lists over the years past. It’s fun to find the things that will make a person light up. You can’t find it with everyone – we all have dud years, for sure – but when you do get it right, it’s absolutely delicious.

This year, though, much of my gift-acquisition has been haphazard. Everyone is getting small things, because between holding down a full-time job, writing, and gift shopping I have also been hunting for a dress, trying to pin down a caterer, figuring out decoration themes, coordinating with my Brewmaster Extraordinaire, contemplating a honeymoon, looking for a house, sending out save the dates and designing invitations….the list, I must admit, is long. You never realize just how long the list is, until you start marching forward with the list. Who made the list so long?

One of the things I have had to do to hold on to the bits of sanity I need to enjoy this holiday season and not set it all on fire is to schedule me-time. Now, me-time that is scheduled is not, to my feeling, quite as lovely as me-time that is unscheduled, but beggars cannot be choosers, as the very classist saying goes, so I must schedule or lose any hope of me-time. Some of the things I do to wind down include long showers, anime marathons, take out, and reading books. Sex, cuddles, and general positive partner time also help me, though mileage may vary, of course. Some people really would rather just be alone, and I certainly have those days. But the S.O. and I have date nights where we just don’t talk about any of this planning stuff, and it has been a relationship and life saver. Going to see a movie with the person I love is so much more enjoyable than bugging him about his schedule or the paperwork we haven’t filed yet. Looking for those moments of personal joy is just as important as trying to bring joy to others.

So this holiday season, do yourself an act of service, whatever kind it is. Buy yourself a chocolate, get a massage, or just take a moment to sit down and enjoy a cup of tea with the cat in your lap. It’s your gift to yourself, and it is the season for giving gifts. Your loved ones will appreciate it when you don’t burn down their house in rage, and you will feel better.

Lots of love, my dears. And Happiest of Holidays to all of you.

 

 

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Author: Amanda J. McGee

Food and books are my passions. When I'm not planting a garden or working my day job, I can often be found writing genre fiction. Also I like to take hikes.

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