Christmas in California
Our last Christmas was spent on beaches and with palm trees. We were thousands of miles from family and from anything resembling a normal holiday season to us. It was really tough to be so far from loved ones, but also nice to get away from the usual chaos. We still celebrated but in a much smaller and quiet way.
‘Normal Christmas’, prior to last year in California, was a lot of running around and a lot of excess. Too much candy, too many events, too much stress around gift-giving. It was high highs and low lows and exhaustion come January.
So now we are back in Canada for the holidays and the coronavirus has cut back on gatherings and events on our behalf. This actually made the temptation to overdo it much stronger. There was a strong pull to compensate for the pandemic devastation and try to salvage 2020. We wanted Christmas to be special for ourselves and our family.
Choosing Our Way Forward
We had to define for ourselves what ‘special enough’ meant. It ended up being a middle ground between Christmas excess and Christmas lite. We chose to send some cards, but not to absolutely everyone. We chose to purchase gifts for our immediate family and to keep them more on the experience side of things. We chose to get a real Christmas tree so we didn’t need to store an artificial one. We chose to stick with the few ornaments we had rather than buy any new ones, except for a tin of quality street chocolates to hang. We made a list of activities that would be nice to do, but we’re quick to let them go when plans changed instead of trying to cram everything in.
It came down to choice and being able to draw a line at good enough. It’s not easy to choose a different kind of Christmas than those around you. Despite the challenges we found it so worth it to level out the holiday rollercoaster into a slightly rolling tram ride. Being able to maintain our sanity and energy has made the month of December more bright and less exhausting. Going forward we will continue to choose peace over more.