December 2010 Focus of the Month:: Savor the Season

December 6, 2010

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_YO_dzaF7KvY/TNoOqsZZZTI/AAAAAAAACSM/BHDOqjMUeTs/s1600/Christmas+Inspiration+-+Country+Living+5.jpg
photo via countryliving.com

I know I usually post our Focus of the Month on the first, but for some reason, we had trouble deciding. Everyone came up with great ideas, but we couldn’t all get excited about one thing. And honestly, it seemed like no one was really motivated to even have a focus at all.

As I was thinking about the month ahead, planning out our advent calendar, and adding library classes & community events to our schedule, I had this gnawing feeling that doing so was going against the energy and current climate of our home. I thought about this season, “The Holidays” as we all call it, and about what it means to our family. You see, for us, Christmas is more of a cultural celebration than it is a religious observance. And I think that’s one of the reasons that our December 2010 Focus of the Month will be to Savor the Season.

In years past, I’d begin with elaborate plans about how “special” this Christmas would be. I’ve gotten so caught up in the hustle & bustle that the big day would come and I’d be thinking “Where did the time go?” I’d remember the shopping, the baking, the card writing & sending, the gift wrapping until the wee hours of the morning, the volunteering & the over-committing, but that’s it. What about all those memories I had intended on making? I’d remember all the commercialized aspects of it, but what about all the days leading up to it that were supposed to be about family?

http://www.familiesonlinemagazine.com/nutrition/chestnuts.jpg

photo via familiesonlinemagazine.com

I want it to be different this year. I want this season to be memorable. So I guess its not really a focus, but more like a commitment to slow down and savor all of the unique offerings this season has to give. Its more about making this time memorable by being present and mindful, and by making magic out of the mundane. Its about being more intentional with how we spend our time. It’s still about being with the people we love while we participate in traditions such as volunteering our time, putting up & decorating a tree, holiday food & music, and of course, gift-giving. Its just that I want us to participate in these things with an intent to connect in a more meaningful way.

I want us to remember the laughing while we bake our homemade gifts in the kitchen. I want them to remember the process of learning how to do a blanket stitch, years later, when they rediscover that homemade ornament or stocking from their youth. When they pick up a picture to show to their own children, I want them to pause, and take that off-in-the-distance look as they recall & retell the story behind it. I don’t want to let another Christmas pass where part of the memory is of me rushing around trying to make it all “perfect”.

So the focus, I guess, is to lose a bit of focus. We’ll keep up with the routines we’ve already established (we don’t want to end up like that again) but for the rest of the time, we’ll go with the natural flow that is already taking place. We’ll cook and bake from scratch (even our bread), roast chestnuts, and drink tons of hot chocolate & eggnog. We’ll watch Christmas movies & House Fairy videos, and snuggle up to read the dozens of winter & Christmas themed books I’ve already picked up from the library. We’ll spend time together with absolutely no electricity or technology on! We’ll ELF our neighbors (more on that later, I’m sure), pay it forward spontaneously, and give of ourselves in ways both big & small. And of course, we will get outside everyday enjoying this (finally) cool weather!

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I still havent decided whether or not to put formal academics aside this month, whether to simply practice weaving more teachable moments into our days as we head towards Christmas. Like I said, we already have a ton of books, with even more waiting for us at the library. We also have many handmade gifts to create with love, and the baking of our goodie baskets for friends, both old & new & not yet made. We have volunteering opportunities already scheduled. All of these have invaluable learning opportunities already built into them, right?

Aaahhh… I suppose, as always, things will unfold exactly as they should.

And really, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Christmas in alignment with Sofia’s Ideas on Simplicity, Frugality, and Frivolity… all with an Eco-Mentality than to simply slow down and Savor the Season!

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Eva Gallant

Very thought-provoking post….that’s Christmas for me — remembering the old and making new memories.

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Jus

Thanks for this thought provoking post! I think I agree with you, we tend to get swallowed up with the hustle and bustle and festivities and forget about the little things that really matter. Thank you for the reminder!
Jus recently posted..Weekend wanderings- Corrections- cleaning and celebrations

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Kassi

What a great thought! It should be a time of savoring those little moments instead of rushing through trying to do too much!!! (Thanks for following me, BTW! I follow you now as well)!

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Danielle

We have done the same thing in our family and continue to cut down each year. I no longer send out cards because it makes me crazy and stressed out. We only buy gifts for each other and the grandparents, as well as some items to donate to Toys For Tots. We bake for the teachers and special staff at school, and those little goodie packages are always well-received!! I used to stress about having the “perfect” holiday, but each year we let a little of that go. And the more I let go, the happier and more special our holidays have become!

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Staci

I gave up on perfect a long time ago. And we really pare down with presents.
But I do make our own cards. And we bake for the teachers at school. My little girl loves to bake. My son likes to draw on them with edible markers.
Love this post girlie!!
Staci recently posted..Wild Deal for Emu Alba Boots

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Sofia's Ideas

Thanks, Staci! We are having a REALLY good season. I love this pace. Its still hard to quiet those OCD voices down but I work at it and I see what a difference this year has made. This is our first fully INTENTIONAL Christmas and its so liberating! :)

My kids love to bake too but I’ve definitely let that become a rarity around here. Thats another reason why I am looking forward to this month – we’ll be baking our own breads again, and just making the time to REALLY cook and savor it all. :) No more rushing around trying to get it all done! :)

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