The long, dark nights seem kind of fitting right now as news of the pandemic worsens. We know there will be good news eventually but that first breath of spring feels too far off still.
We’ll spend another holiday shuttered up at home. We won’t go to any holiday open houses or meet for a holiday happy hour. This will be the holiday season that wasn’t.
So when I found myself at Target picking through the remains of holiday garland for the fifth (fiftieth?) time in 3 days, I began to wonder if I should just drop the silly fake mistletoe in my hand and walk out.
I didn’t. I picked up another string of lights. This year, it feels impossible to have too many lights. By the lack of inventory on the shelves, I don’t think I’m alone in this thinking.
When I got home, I realized the outlet was a lot farther away than I thought. This resulted in an unsightly extension cord that now runs along the length of a wall. However, when we sit on the couch or at the table, we can’t see the cord, just the warm, twinkly lights. Does it bother me that I know it’s not so pretty beyond where the eye can see? Of course. But like much of this year, I try to focus on what’s right in front of me.
In these last weeks of this never-ending year, I’m taking comfort wherever I find it. I’m taking a Marie Kondo approach to the holiday season. Does buying the fattest tree on tree on the lot bring me comfort and joy? Does watching Love Actually bring me comfort and joy? Do sad Christmas carols bring me comfort and joy? Yes, yes and yes.
Nevermind that the tree juts into the middle of the room. Nevermind that I had to buy a digital copy of a movie I already own. Nevermind what my affinity for melancholy music means. This is not the season for overanalyzing our faults or trying to power through or look on the bright side or doing what we think we should. Find comfort and joy where you can and hold on.
Watch the dumb Christmas specials that make you feel better. Or watch gory thrillers. Make the fancy sugar cookies. Or, just stick with chocolate chip. Decorate. Or don’t. Listen to the corny music. Or don’t. If ever there was a season to just wrap up in a soft blanket, this is it. Bury yourself in tidings of comfort and joy.
All the obligations and chores and worries and bad news (the unsightly cords, if you will), will still be there. Lessen their impact if you can, in any way that works without judgement or guilt.
We’re almost there. In 9 more days we’ll have reached the shortest day of the year. Then we start the steady climb back towards the light.