what we don't want to forget next holiday season
The holidays can be magic. And the holiday's be rough.
As we wrap up the season this Christmas Eve, we are sharing what we want to be sure to remember this time next year. Whether it's to not stress about those extra sugar cookies, to relax about the imperfect holiday card, or to spend a little extra time focusing on what matters, tonight we are sending these love-notes to us.
If I can remember one thing next Christmas, I'd like it to be that presence is better. I'll spare you that cheesy line about presence over presents but just know that's totally where I'm going with this.
I would say that 90% of the time, my anxiety is in charge of my brain. So rather than enjoying anything, I'm either thinking about what happened right before, remembering to suck it in, or dreading what's going to happen next. Like honestly all the time. And this time of year is a breeding ground for that kind of thing as expectations are usually so high. But. What I want to do better this coming year is to remember what I really care about. And it's the people who'll be sitting around me in their jammies tomorrow morning. It's not my morning makeup-less face or cinnamon rolls that are a tiny bit under-cooked or the fact that we still don't have enough coffee cups for anyone because we only grew up and started drinking it in the last year. It's that after everything, after all that we have seen and done and wished for and cried over, we are choosing to be together this day. We didn't shop our faces off just to prove a point (although...), we did that because we wanted the people we love to know just how much we mean it. And we give ourselves a little grace if a stray tear comes rolling through.
It's all about being here. Not what we did before or who will pack up and leave tomorrow. It's about presence. About choosing to be in the moment and live in it and see all that is beautiful in the here and now.
I hope I can hold tighter to this in the coming year. I'll remind myself often.
The biggest thing that I want to remember this time next year is that Christmas is always going to be magic—with or without the gold foil cards and the perfectly curated decorations. There was still goodness and kindness all around me this entire holiday season and I didn’t spend a dime on décor and didn’t spend a minute stressing over ornament placement.
Tonight, my dad’s entire side of the family is gathering at my grandparents’ house to chow down on homemade Mexican food. All 15 of us haven’t been together since 2010, so this year is going to be extra special. I want to take in every moment tonight. I want to remember the sparkle in my Mimi’s eyes when she looks around and sees all her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchild all in one room. I want to remember the way my Daddy Bub doesn’t skip a beat when we all roll our eyes as he starts to tell us a story we’ve all heard a million times. I want to remember Sloan’s curious, but also terrified, obsession with my Uncle Jon’s mountain man beard. I want to remember the feelings and not the things.
And next year, when I’m going full-blown Martha May Whovier on my decorations, I want to remember that all those warm and cozy feelings were still there this year, even when the fluff of Christmas wasn’t.
I think Dr. Seuss said it best: “Christmas—it came without bows, it came without packages, boxes, or bags. Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store—maybe Christmas perhaps, means a little bit more.”
First off: You freaking made it! This season has been a wild ride and you better be drinking too much wine and patting yourself on the back tonight.
Twelve months from now you'll probably forget a lot of what you're feeling today, which is why I am writing to you now. When Thanksgiving rolls around next year I want you to dig this out of the archives and hold on to everything I say. K?
- It doesn't matter if you don't send the holiday cards. You didn't do it this time and no one disowned you. Also, you were able to use that time you'd have spent addressing envelopes, sharing your heart right here instead. (And that makes you feel freaking good!)
- You don't have to get anyone presents either. They don't need anything and they'll actually think it's pretty cool that you decided to not buy anything. Also, you missed buying some of the presents this year. Maybe you should just be a little more selective and not let the guilt of equally buying for everyone get you down. What do you think?
- Even when you try really hard to not let the spirit of Christmas make you feel all the feels, you're going to feel all the feels. You LOVE this time of year, remember!? Who cares if you cry when you watch White Christmas alone or yell profanities when you try and setup the Christmas tree by yourself. It makes you happy to see that damn tree every morning and even if it hurts sometimes, the Christmas music brings you joy. No matter what put up the freaking tree and play the freaking playlist.
- Most importantly, please, please remember: even when it feels like you can't, you can do hard things. You can do them any day of the year, but you can especially do them now.
Congrats on making it to the end! I'd tell you that next year will be easier, but you know that the holidays are always tough. But, Jess, so are you.
Merry Freaking Christmas!