Savoring the Sweet Slowness of the Holidays

This holiday season, my husband and I officially declared a season of No Travel.

Happy boy in snow

That means no planes and no sleeping away from home– or more to the point, no worrying about how to make sure that Little A is sleeping okay away from home. After his first year of life, which we dubbed the Era of No Sleep, we are still leery of anything that might disrupt his sleep once again. This caution continues even though our most recent trip, to my sister’s wedding, went exceedingly well.

We are also just tired of travelling, for the past year was a busy one in that regard. Each trip wonderful and very much enjoyed, and each one so very exhausting.  Another parent perception shift: I had no idea how much more work it is to travel with a small one.

I’m also trying not to accept too many invitations or do too many projects. We are choosing with care, and with a mindful eye to maintaining a pace that feels full of grace and ease. It looks like we will have a very small tabletop tree in honor of the winter solstice. We will light candles for Hanukkah. One of Little A’s grandmothers will stay with us for a short visit. We will participate in our neighborhood’s beautiful tradition of setting out luminarias all along the street to light the darkness with light, one Saturday night. I will go to the amazing carolling contest downtown with a few good friends.

We will play with Little A in the snow, assuming there is snow, and make really good hot chocolate and mulled cider. This is the first year Little A will really be able to enjoy and participate in holiday traditions. I can’t wait to see how he reacts, and I am so glad that we’re creating a space to enjoy peaceful family time as the year turns to its darkest time and the days grow shorter and shorter.

We will take care of ourselves and savor both the planned fun activities, and the unexpected serendipities that I hope we are leaving lots of room for. And of course, there’s always plenty of work to accomplish as well, but we tend to slow down the pace on that for a few weeks at the very end of the year as well. I am really looking forward to that.

We are saying no to a lot of things, and yes to a few, and keeping the pace slow. Mostly. All things in moderation after all, right? Including moderation itself.

How do you balance peace and excitement for the holidays? What little joys can you say yes to, and what pressures and obligations can you set aside?

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