The air is heavy with expectation in December. Like the thick fog that settles on a winters morning. Mornings where I can barely see out of my kitchen window as the blanket of haze takes over the horizon. Christmas is no different. The thin air is extinguished and in its place a thick heavy blanket of expectation.
I feel different this year to last. Last year I felt that the few weeks leading up to Christmas I was pushing through concrete to survive. Barely managing to get through each day and clinging onto the release that only comes when one year ends and another starts.
I do not feel like I am pushing through concrete this year. I am tired, but there is no pushing, no shoving to get through. Almost like a balloon that has lost its air I feel like I am doing what I need to, no more and no less, to get through these last few weeks.
I have always felt like we are all rostered on for Christmas. Handed out a timetable of expectation and commitments, with no choice but to be steadfast and diligent with the role we must play. Christmas presents – check. Christmas parties – check. Christmas catch ups – check. Christmas cards – check. Christmas decorations – check. Christmas carols – check. Christmas concerts – check. Christmas cooking – check. Christmas clean up – check. Sometimes the timetable can be exhausting and depleting.
Our family has a real life roster for Christmas – one where we share turns in hosting Christmas lunch. Except there are two rosters: one Christmas for my Dad’s side of the family and one roster for my Mum’s side of the family. Our family has grown too big to hold both events on the same day – so two rosters, two different days. This year it is my turn to host my Dad’s side of the family. Usually I am well prepared penning out menus, gathering bits and pieces early in December. Not this year. This year it is going to be a last minute throw everything together and hope for the best type of affair.
I’m sure it will be fine. I have no doubt the kids will just want to get together and play with all their new Christmas toys. There will be moments captured and memories kept. But the idea of giving this get together my absolute all – well it overwhelms me. To be perfectly honest, I do not think I have my all to give. I think most of it was snapped up during the year. So this Christmas I am giving what is left. It may just be a simple old fashioned barbeque at the end of the day and that will be ok.
What I need to keep reminding myself is that we should not let the expectation of Christmas spoil our actual Christmas. Spoil the moments of catching up with the ones we love, even if it is just a barbeque or a coffee. Spoil the meaning of Christmas, whether it is a religious or spiritual feeling you hold close to your heart, it needs to be honoured above presents and twenty four hour shopping centres.
As for the feeling of it all just being too much? Perhaps we need to be honest with ourselves and accept that expectation only exists if we allow it to. So draw the line, wherever that may be for you and your family. Perhaps it is more important to be present for Christmas than it is to be rostered on for Christmas.
What plans do you have this Christmas?
Are you hosting Christmas lunch or dinner?
Does it all feel a little too much at this time of year?