Here we are, in the darkest week of the year. We wake up in the dark, we get home in the dark. The cold air sneaks under our old front door, and the humidifiers barely make a difference in the dry air. I thank the people long ago who decided that Christmas should be celebrated near the Winter Solstice. Having fun to look forward to during this bleak time is greatly appreciated.
Each December, my focus is on slowing down time so that I can fully enjoy the season. I'm doing pretty well so far this year. Online shopping makes that part easy - I've been done for weeks. I made a couple batches of cookie dough a couple weeks ago, and I split and froze it, so we can keep the cookie train rolling all month. I wrap a couple presents here and there while watching TV in the evening. I even managed to get holiday cards out! I hadn't planned to, but the boys decided it was a tradition they weren't ready to give up. I decided not to send homemade gifts to the family this year, and lifting that pressure off myself feels right. Maybe I'll do it in February - we can all use a pick-me-up in February.
The boys have been spending time making gifts and cards for family members, which is so lovely, especially when unprompted. They are so proud of their creations.
It's cold. I'm not a huge fan of being cold, but we got our first proper snowstorm at the beginning of the month, and the snow has stuck around. Snow adds to the magic of the season. The boys play outside every day, sledding until way past dark.
December is full of family birthdays that help mark the time. I am an aunt again! (For what could be the last time?) My sister-in-law gave birth to a boy, and I can't wait to meet him. His big sister turned four yesterday. My Aaron turned eleven last week. School and other activities give structure to our days and force us out, even when the couch is calling. Chorus concerts, basketball games, piano recitals... I smile and clap and beam with pride. I adore watching my boys play.
One week until Christmas. Next weekend will be full - basketball, The Last Jedi, Boston Pops, Elf and Home Alone, Kevin's lobster mac and cheese, presents on Christmas Eve. Full...but quiet. Just the four of us. I miss the noise and chaos that comes with family visits, but I can appreciate the quiet holidays too.
We'll get a dose of family chaos on Christmas Day, when we go visit our new baby nephew (and his family). And then we'll head north to hit the slopes. The forecast looks frigid, but we are all excited to get to the mountains.
As we enter this busy holiday time, my goal is to stay present in these moments. I'm ready.