Ho-ho-holllllly crap, it’s December 26th. Just like that, the Disney and Freeform Christmas-themed marathons are over (SAD). I think Hallmark’s game is still going strong, but the only game I want to see is the New York Yankees. The day after Christmas, I woke up craving warmer temperatures, less cold germs, a brand new year and pinstripes in the Bronx! This is not like me. I’ll tell ya somethin’ else: I’ve already made some resolutions for 2018, and they are (for the most part) things I would like to do differently during future Holiday seasons. The overarching theme for the future: enjoy more of the ambiance even more. I can hear lovely music and my mom’s voice on the phone, so I need to listen (and call) more. I can see and have an appreciation for pretty colors, so I need to look at more. I can feel my kiddo’s fluffy hair and soft woven blankets and my husband’s arms around me and the warmth of my home, so I need to feel more.
Before I go any further, this post is all over the place, thus it is brought to you by way too much caffeine.
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This ol’ girl ain’t much for tradition, which seems unfortunate, but really actually isn’t unfortunate at all. My explanation should make sense: My romantic ideas of cozy, perfect holidays were blown to bits by the sudden loss of my dad when I was 18, and continuous, mostly exciting and inevitable change throughout my adult years — including becoming a mom — has taught me to keep expectations to a minimum and go with the flow. I’m a detail-oriented psychopath about a lot of things. I’ve learned, though, that you can plan out the details all day long, but if your heart is set on those details, particularly if said details involve human beings, there could be a let-down (or five). When you’re high on the holiday hype, one dropped fork… a late UPS delivery… or botched side dish can straight up send you over the MFing edge. Factor in real problems like snowy, hazardous travel conditions, ill family members, delayed flights, or a broken thermostat and you’ll be singing, “O’ holy Hell” instead. (Or, maybe that’s just classy me.)
And let us not forget the little people! Christmas in particular is exhausting for the little ones; in the last 48 hours, I watched my 4 year-old bounce from pure joy and excitement that rendered those magical picture-perfect instagrammable moments, to “dear Lord, is my kid okay?!?!” instances that I’ll need to force out of my memory somehow. When I consider how stressed a few days of nonstop everything affects the typical adult, it all makes perfect sense. How children act when tired or overwhelmed is exactly how I feel inside. I lost my voice this year, and when I did get it back during family time (lucky them!), I sounded like I’d just smoked — or maybe even eaten — 10 packs of Virginia Slims. Struggling to verbally thank my dear in-laws for awesome gifts (Hunter boots, heeeey!) made my airways tired, so I was 50% happy-happy joy-joy, and 50% GTFO of my life I just want to TAKE A NAP. Inside, I was having one of those nonsensical toddler tantrums (I WANT TO WEAR MY HUNTER BOOTS AND GO TO BED! DO NOT TAKE MY BOOTS OFF BECAUSE I WANT TO SLEEP IN THEM FOREVER!!!!)
My most favorite moments of Thanksgiving, holiday-season birthdays of loved ones and Christmas, were the moments my family strayed from the ordinary. Most probably wouldn’t consider a late afternoon Christmas Eve scoot over to the nearest Starbucks for a big box of brew extraordinary, but I sure as hell did. And I can’t wait to do it again next year. What was so special about it? My mother-in-law and I chatted as we waited for our coffee, watching others who were reading books, reading the paper, conversing with one another, typing on their computers, and it was absolutely normal. A typical day. As a kid, I often felt like the world stopped for two straight days. In those two days, there were lots of visits, fun family time, and food and gifts, but I suppose I had some anxiety developing early in life because I’d tire of it all quickly, run off to my room and sketch or paint to escape… and count down the hours until normalcy returned. In my adult life, I’ve grown to love busy everyday life, which I think rolls back to that losing a parent thing. I like that people don’t stop. You can visit, make memories, and go to Starbucks, too, dammit. There ain’t a thing wrong with it.
In my adult life, I’ve also grown to appreciate the giving back, the music, the energy, the decor and the fashion that surrounds the holiday season. I participate in a local adopt-a-child for Christmas program at work each year, and have as much fun finding the exact gifts s/he wishes to open on Christmas morning as I do shopping for my own loved ones. 5th Avenue NYC storefronts are this beginning urban sketcher’s inspiration. Bright reds and bold pinks, and shiny embellishments on clothing are super fun to wear. Christmas jazz gives me all the warm, cozy and light-hearted vibes to carry me through the highs and lows of the season. And deciding which bold plaid or striped throw to wrap myself in as I relax on the couch and think about how I’d like to trim the gifts I give this year — in jute string with a pine cone attached, or llama-printed washi tape — brings me great joy.
I’ve gotta do way more of this stuff, which I’ve gotten better at soaking in the last couple years. But, next Christmas, there will be more of it. I’m one step away from ditching the typical Thanksgiving dinner and going balls out with a seafood feast… I’m toying with the idea of going the flamingo/anchor/palm tree theme for holiday decor, and I’m 100% going back to Starbucks on Christmas Eve where I’ll smile at people, breathe in the scent of Pike Place roast, and have a nice conversation with a family member… about baseball, maybe.
This is gonna be one long winter, so let’s make it a fun one! Stay tuned for some bright artwork, fun photography and other creative adventures that I hope will help keep me, and you, out of the winter rut.