I have had the same “holiday list” for 10 years. On my list was everything from Santa pictures, to holiday card photo sessions, ordering gifts, shipping gifts, teacher gifts, clients gifts, special homemade gifts and everything in between.
There was a moment this week when I missed my list and I panicked. When I was executing the list in years past, I was often complaining about how I wanted time to enjoy the holidays and to bake cookies and to sit by the fire with a mug of hot chocolate. The time is now to do all the things the list didn’t allow for AND I am pining for my list. There is comfort in routine. There is comfort in being home for the holidays and I couldn’t feel further from home.
I had two choices. I could either replicate the chaos of holidays passed here and busy myself with a similar list or I could lean into the space I forever asked for, feel grateful for its presence and see what emerged.
I bought a puzzle! I have never even considered doing a puzzle that was not for my children. I bought a real, 2000 piece puzzle with a lovely scene from Venice. The last two days, when my To Do’s of days gone by, would have been at their pinnacle, I positioned around my puzzle, with tea and lemony panettone and chatted with my children. I have learned so much about them around the puzzle table. They have told me stories about school yard skirmishes and books they hope to read, dreams they have about countries they hope to visit, and tales of Christmases past.
Because we have no routine here, and the traditions are so foreign to us, we have the space to dream together. Because of the discomfort, we dream big! If we can do the holidays here, where else might we go? Let’s Google the North Pole for Christmas. I wonder what that would be like? Oh! Lapland, Finland looks magical, maybe we will go there next year! And the conversation is blazing around the puzzle table warmed by the wood stove, full of firewood my husband chopped, with walnuts drying on the mantle, all because we opened ourselves to the possibility of time and quiet in December.
We won’t be with our extended families this year and there will be significantly less presents under the tree, but we will be with each other in a way we never have before and that is the only thing on my “list” this year.