I haven’t been in the office since last Tuesday, and as I put the finishing touches on this post at 5pm on New Year’s Eve, I write from my warm apartment, without any sense of obligation, without many cares in this world. It’s not often I am allowed an extensive break from my everyday 9-5 work environment, and I am making the most of this vacation.
This Christmas was not unlike any other, and yet, it held a different meaning to me this year altogether. The holidays are always a season of reflection, and so it was that I spent the hours, days, weeks, and months is a relative daze as I went through the series of obligatory motions. Shop for gifts. Wrap the gifts. Make cookies. Think of a holiday menu.
Christmas has always been my favorite holiday and I think that has to do with the fact that it has always been simple and sweet. Family has always come first. For as far back as I can remember, every Christmas Eve I would spend countless hours playing Scrabble with my dad, baking traditional German cookies with my mom, or watching MST3K with my brother. This year was the first when another person sat in on the intimate family gift giving, church, and dinner I have grown so accustomed to in my 33 years. I hope Bryan had a nice time with my relatively eccentric family.
I look at this picture and cannot believe that my mom is approaching 70. Crazy, right?
This was also the first Christmas where I ate breakfast in pajamas with Bryan’s family and opened gifts with his sisters and nieces. It was a perfect complement to a peaceful and reflective Christmas Eve.
The spirit of Christmas will never be lost on me, but I can say I am far more cognizant of living in the moment and giving thanks for all that I have and all that I am blessed with. At a time when so many have lost so much, it seems trite to focus on spending and buying more for people who already have it all. This year, Bryan and I went small with our gift giving and have decided to save our money for a trip in the new year. The one thing that has been missing from our relationship is a bit more adventure, and since travel has always been a big part of my life, I am lobbying for a cut in spending and an increase in time together. We attended our only Phish show the other night at the Garden. Ordinarily I would have booked tickets for all four nights, but there are other things I’d like to spend my money on. It is a small price to pay for a rewarding vacation in our near future.
I haven’t given much thought to New Year’s resolutions this year. Sure, I’d like to attend more yoga classes, write more, be more, work less, and spend more time enjoying life and all of its precious moments. But maybe I should just take the focus off of myself for awhile and put my words and actions to good use elsewhere. A trip to a local animal shelter yesterday solidified the fact that I have a warm home and the means to foster an animal in the new year, something I’ve been meaning to do for some time now. Maybe I should just concentrate on being the best Charlotte I can be to all creatures great and small.
Above all else, I wish you and yours a very HAPPY and HEALTHY New Year. Here’s to a better 2013. Let’s take the lessons we learned in 2012 and make this a beautiful year together. I love you all. XOXO