Preserving holiday spirit all through the new year
Last updated 12/30/2019 at 8:59pm | View PDF
I love Christmas, but I'm not sure I could survive 12 months of shopping, wrapping, baking, mailing cards and hosting gatherings at a holiday pace.
And while I'm ready to embark on a new year, I'm not quite ready to give up all that filled the holiday season with wonder and joy.
So, in lieu of resolutions, I offer the following ways in which I hope to keep the holiday spirit with me this year.
• Keep in touch
My refrigerator is covered with pictures of friends beaming from holiday cards. Some I've been lucky enough to see or talk to or text this holiday season. Others I don't see or talk to or text enough.
But the effort I make at Christmas to connect with a card or a quick visit - and the joy I feel when I receive one in return - doesn't have to be limited to the month of December.
• Be generous
Christmas is a time when the focus is on giving rather than receiving. I extend that generosity outside of my social circle, buying presents for a kid we "adopt" through social service agencies, making a donation to cover the cost of a holiday meal or throwing a few dollars into the Salvation Army kettle. What would the world be like if I - if we - exhibited that same level of generosity every month of the year?
• Take the scenic route
Even though holiday schedules can leave me feeling a little kerbobbled, I'm willing to take the time to stroll through our neighborhood or drive down a few extra streets on the way home from work to look at Christmas lights. If I can find time to seek out beauty during the busiest month of the year, I should be able to do so all year long.
• Have a family concert
I still have not mastered "Silent Night" on the guitar, but I played it anyway for my mother, her sweetheart and my father-in-law at our first family Christmas concert (an informal event held at my father-in-law's apartment at Lexington Square). Ainsley played her violin beautifully and she and Dan offered some lovely clarinet duets. My mom sang along when she could remember the words. We all made mistakes, but it was sweet.
• Listen to the stories
So many wonderful stories - many conveyed on film - are focused on the holiday season. Countless other stories - told by strangers in a variety of mediums or by family members sitting around the kitchen table - are available throughout the year, if I just take the time to listen.
The many, many tins of treats at my house inspired this particular suggestion. Of course, as my pants have started to feel tighter, I've been reminded that this practice, followed indefinitely, is not healthy.
On the other hand, I think we often try to make up for a season of too much with a season of too little. It's all about balance. So, to revise, let's say "Indulge responsibly. Periodically."
• Be open to miracles
Mary and Joseph were open to a miracle, we were reminded at church on Christmas Eve. My cousin Bo, who's traveling in Mexico with his two daughters, recently posted the (alleged?) Einstein quote on Facebook: "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
I hope to live 2020 as if everything is a miracle.
Happy New Year. May 2020 be filled with whatever brings you joy.
- Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean. Readers can email her at [email protected]