Celebrating the Season

Celebrating the Seasons

For my family, this week began with Halloween, continued with two kid birthdays and will end with back-to-back parties on Friday and Saturday. And, as we all know, it only gets crazier from here.

I have, pretty much every year, dreaded these busy months of travel and connections, of events and hosting, of anticipation and tears and excitement and exhaustion. But this November, I am trying something new. For the next nine weeks, (till my kids go back to school on Jan. 4) I am vowing to reject perfectionism and unrealistic expectations — along with the anxiety, discouragement and short-temperedness that go with them. In their places, I’m choosing to embrace whatever comes my way. Maybe I’ll even go on a few hunts for silver linings.

Because, with my oldest turning 15 this week, I can see all-too-clearly that the number of years I’ll have everyone sitting in front of my living room fire in their footy pajamas is few and getting fewer.

Will there be tantrums and bickering this holiday season? Yes and yes. But so what if someone is impatient with the ornament hanging or rolls their eyes at hearing the same Christmas carol for the 53rd time. It’s what I’ve got. I can’t change what is. I can only change how I choose to see it. This year, my glasses are showing me that we are all here together, making memories, even if what we remember is how the car wouldn’t start or the pipes froze or somebody gave somebody else a bloody lip.

Fortunately, at this moment, the kitchen is our happy place. It’s where all five of us can crank the tunes (a lovely cacophony of Hamilton show stoppers, Meghan Trainor ear worms and the 2014 Annie movie soundtrack) while we stir and pour and bake, wash and stack and dry, then repeat, pretty much all day.

This is also the first year in a long while that I’ll be hosting both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Each will be a smallish affair, nothing fancy. But I do get to pick the menus and oversee the productions and have that feeling of satisfaction when the meals (hopefully) come together and the laughter and conversation served up is just as tasty as anything I’ve put on the table.

So as I warmed up the chili on Halloween and baked birthday brownies and scones and stirred batch upon batch of my family’s favorite homemade mac and cheese this week, I promised myself: Rather than feeling disappointment at what doesn’t go my way, I’m going to focus on enjoying it all, no matter how loud or messy or disastrous.

Just saying those words somehow eased the knot that typically forms in my stomach every November.

This is going to be fun, I allowed myself to think. And if it’s not, well, that’s okay too. At least we’re all here. Together. Making memories.

What are you most looking forward to this holiday season?

Around the web: My Pesto Cheese Straw recipe has been featured on a fun website where food bloggers share their recipes. This project: Sharing is Caring began publishing recipes a few months ago and will continue with a new recipe every day through December. So, if you’d like to immerse yourself into wide range of food and cooking styles, take a peek. Think of it like ordering a sampler platter. As you click yourself forward and backward through the site, you never know what you might find: Anything from  Mango pickles to Barley Soup to Tandoori Butternut Curry.

Next week: A first draft of my Thanksgiving menu.

8 thoughts on “Celebrating the Season

  • Yes, yes, and YES! So well said Christina. A reminder to us all to focus on loving others instead of focusing on ourself and our imperfections. Looking forward to being imperfect with you this holiday season, and maybe for the duration.

    • Absolutely, Meg. Imperfectionists unite! 🙂 Thanks for your sweet comment and let the celebrations begin!

  • Love this photo Christina! Happy Holidays! Looking forward to making your pesto cheese straws this holiday season, I know my family will gobble them up!

    • Thanks, Becky. I have so many photos like it: total goofiness! 🙂 Hope you do enjoy the pesto cheese straws. I’m asking my family for a cookie press for Christmas so I can make them faster!

  • Loved your post, Christina! What a wonderful reminder for the upcoming season and life in general. 🙂

    • Thanks so much, Tonya! It’s going to be a challenge to live by these words, but hopefully a good one. 🙂

  • Thanks for the reminder of the important things this season- although it is much easier to succumb to stress amd disppointments, I, too, choose to focus on the simple beauty of togetherness.

    • Thanks, Mary! Great to hear of your kindred philosophy. Love watching your family bike and walk to school, a special time of togetherness….

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