Learning to Enjoy the Holidays From Afar

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In recent years, by the time Christmas rolled around, I had little interest in celebrating other than watching holiday movies and indulging in cookies. It was not always like that. Like most American kids, growing up, I loved and eagerly awaited Christmas every year. I don’t know when my Christmas apathy started.

Maybe it was some time during college when home started to feel less like home and more like a place where my family happened to live. Not that I don’t love my hometown or appreciate being able to spend time with family, but I knew that Christmas time was a pause in the life I was building for myself somewhere else. Fast-forward ten years and I am slowly settling in to my nomadic life, more quickly feeling comfortable on my own and away. And to my surprise, something changed this December. This year in particular, the Christmas spark seems to be back. Not in a commercial sense — I’m still not much of a gift giver — but in a more holistic sense. As are most of us this time of year, I am exhausted and worn out from a long year and in need of a break. Nevertheless, I feel invigorated by the idea that once again, I completed a whole year’s worth of work and everything in between.

So with that cloyingly optimistic thought in mind, I bought a new Christmas tree and dared put it up before Thanksgiving (yes, I did). I am also genuinely taking to heart the idea of slowing down and reflecting on the year and what it brought – the good, the sad, and the neutral. Every moment I get to spend at home with the lights on, glittering, and a warm cup of tea feels like the perfect escape from responsibility, while also serving as a reminder that even in the busiest of times, there’s space for joy and celebration. While that may sound sappy — I know, I know — it has been the truth for me this year. Instead of stressing about buying gifts, or what I will do for Christmas Day itself, I am focusing on the whole month as a chance to add a spark of coziness and fun to my daily routine.

With that, I hope you are all equally finding some calm this December before January arrives.

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