At the end of last season, we threw out the old tree that had dysfunctional lights. I went through the ornaments and got rid of the ones we didn't put on the tree anymore. We parted with the kid's artwork from preschool (they're in high school and middle school now) and looked forward to a new start. I told my family that next year would be different, and I wanted time to enjoy our family and not focus so much on the gifts. I needed to shift our perspective.
Last week we bought a new artificial tree that looks like a real tree with snow and glittery ice and pinecones on it. The lights were no-fuss and set-up was easy. If I don't add any ornaments to it, I will love it just as it is. We stopped getting cut trees years ago, as I just can't kill a tree for the sole purpose of bringing it into my home for a few weeks and then turn it into mulch. My relationship with trees is too deep to do that, and as we can't plant more trees in our current yard, a live tree with an intact root ball is not an option. I hold no ill-will toward others who choose a live tree, as the sensory experience of a pine or fir is a true gift to have within a home. I simply need to find that joy outside, as it feels most appropriate for me.
I am not stressing over the gifts this year, and I making sure to take time for self-care every day so that I feel good and can do the things I want and need to do with a joyful attitude. I love this time of year, where the trees are stark and you can see the shape of the land. Early mornings provide magical murmurations by graceful starlings against a palette of soft blues, purples, and pinks of the morning sky. This year is about bringing in the joy of every day, taking each moment as it comes.
Gratitude is helping me keep things in perspective. The shopping I'm doing is within the bounds of love, grateful for my family and friends as I shop. I will be patient at the mall and toy store. I am thankful that we have the money to purchase thoughtful gifts for our children, nieces, and nephews. I will take time to step out in the cold air and gaze at the stars that brighten the skies so vividly at this time of year, freed from the humidity of the earlier months. I will turn down activities that don't fill me with joy, and if there are things I must do, I will shift my perspective so that I do them with a glad heart.
This year will not be a blur of shopping frenzy and overfilled schedules. What's important to me will be center stage - family, friends, the beauty of our natural world, and days filled with love. Those are the reasons for the season, whatever winter holiday we celebrate.
May your December be filled with days of simple joys that fill your hearts, and may the only daze you feel be from the awe of colored sunrises, brightly lit homes, and the glow of smiling faces wherever you go.