demolition-derby-corbin-hiarI was out running errands today.  Just the regular, getting life lived kinda errands. Nothing special and yet it turned into a tour de force of the holiday.  I needed to mail some cards and other items, but I was one stamp short so I decided to stop at the Post Office. Two birds/one stone as it were.  However, not only was the parking lot full, the spots out on the street were also full for two blocks in either direction.  I was able to find a parking spot in the local part 3 blocks away and walk in mildly rainy weather to the Post Office where the line was out the door, people were ringing the buzzer for the bulk clerk, and there was even a line for the self-serve machine.  If I’d been in a hurry or on a deadline I might have lost my mind, but luckily I instead got in a bit of a walk to stretch my legs and visited with some only slightly harried people in the self-serve line.

The situation got a bit more dire at the grocery store.  Groceries, mind you. People were driving dangerously, parking crazy, barely missing each other and that was just the parking lot. Traffic was backed up at the intersection blocking traffic for no reason and you could hear the road rage mixed in with the muffled X-mas carols.  How did our holiday come to this?  How did a season of creativity turn into a rush to everything and a demolition derby just to get into the rush?

We create our holiday from scratch each year. Not just what we will give people or who we are going to see on the day, not just the meal we’re going to eat and whose party we’ll go to, but everything from beginning to end. We choose whether our schedule will be overly full of stress and doing or overflowing with self-care/joy/giving. We choose what components go into the mix, how much of them, and how much effort we’re going to put in, then we create our holiday experience from the results.  So if we’re the artist of our holiday experience for ourselves and our families, why don’t we create something that makes us feel the way we want to feel, gives us the memories we want to have, and leaves out the pieces that wear and tear us down? This year one of the things I’m adding into my holiday is the Icelandic tradition of giving a brand new book on Christmas Eve. The idea of the evening is to sit in the luscious splendor of all the holiday decorations, with holiday food and holiday beverages, with family and friends, quietly savoring the pleasure of each others’ company and the gift of an entire world within the pages of a new book. Now for a writer and avid reader like me, that’s Joy to the World.

What holiday are you in the midst of creating?  And before you bemoan how busy you are and how there’s never enough time, and there’s too much to do and you wish it could be otherwise, recognize that you’re the artist creating this work of art.  If it isn’t going the way you want, stop and take a step back, because it doesn’t have to be, does it?