We just passed the winter solstice. The shortest day of the longest year…. that flew by the fastest, ever. How can we embrace the JOY of this season and carry it with us into next year?
A Message From the Corona Virus
I read a lovely fictional story as this pandemic was coming about—a letter from the virus to humanity, with the overall sentiment being “y’all are insane, your priorities are out of whack, you’re completely unhealthy, work yourselves to death, you’re disconnected from nature and have lost the ability to recognize and cultivate joy. So here I am, I’m going to force you to take a long hard look at things”
I had been thinking along those lines so found it a refreshing perspective I could connect with. Here’s a small snippet of that goodness, but I urge you to read the entire thing here.
Our obligation is to each other,
As it has always been, even if, even though, you have forgotten.
We will interrupt this broadcast, the endless cacophonous broadcast of divisions and distractions,
to bring you this long-breaking news:
We are not well.
No, We Were Not Well.
I couldn't have agreed more. As a society, we are not well. Looking right around me, as a family... we were just ok. Our priorities were wrong and we were wrapped up in the day to day grind, not paying enough attention to the things that matter most: ourselves and each other.
This whole year I have spent many more hours with no one more than my closest family and a few friends. We haven’t traveled much and our backyard pool parties were non-existent, which I would have thought to be a depressing change. Much to my surprise, the social isolation actually opened my eyes to the most simple things in my world that bring me so much joy!
This Spring I was faced with all the tough questions for myself:
I didn’t like my answers to any of those questions and am happy to say I have worked hard to create new answers this year!
So here we are, in the middle of the wondrous holiday season of the weirdest year I’ve experienced in all my 40 years. It’s been a tough one, but hopefully you’ve also been forced to take a look at your life and cultivate joy from the people and things consistently within your 6ft mask-free circle.
how can we embrace the JOY of this season and carry it with us into next year?
5 Simple Joys of the Season
And now for my top 5 joys of the season. I’m soaking up every moment, trying to send 2020 to its grave on a joyous note.
#1 Holiday music.
My family celebrates Christmas, so I’ll speak to Christmas music here, but the same applies to whatever sound of the season you tune into! Having small children (ages 3.5 and 5), the sweet sound of Christmas entered my house in mid-November, as they started practicing for the Kindergarten nativity performance. (Well, the older one was practicing and little brother learned all the songs for moral support and extra sweetness). There’s something about a child’s voice singing the words of an already sweet song that sparks so much joy.
#2 All the smells of Christmas
Whether it’s some delicious meat roasting in the oven for hours, cinnamon on the stove, fresh baked cookies or gingerbread, or even the backyard fire pit, you can’t beat the smells of this season.
#3 Dare I mention … Elf on the Shelf
I know many parents despise the elf because it’s one.more.thing. I get that, I really do. I forget to move that thing, every single night, without fail.
But, I love how every morning my kids come downstairs and immediately start searching for the elf. They run all over the house together searching high and low and shriek with joy when they find him.
Our elf is named Sneaky Gorman, rightfully so. Sometimes my three year old will drift away to talk to sneaky. If you listen carefully, you can hear him, “Sneaky, can you please tell Santa ....” That right there just makes my heart so happy. I’ll gladly keep that daily to-do item every season until they’re too old to believe in Santa and sneaky little flying elves.
#4 Christmas lights
I don’t think I will ever outgrow my love of Christmas lights. It is so much fun to drive through elaborately decorated neighborhoods or community-sponsored lights. There’s something so magical about it! Add little ones to the mix and you get to experience the magic through their eyes, which is just immeasurable.
#5 Community cheer.
There’s no denying the extra cheer in the air in the entire community. People are gearing up for family gatherings, time off work, maybe some travel. Have you ever noticed how a simple “Merry Christmas!” or “Happy Holidays!” can really turn someone’s mood around? It’s as if those words make someone feel noticed and cared about.
Neighbors bring homemade fudge, freshly baked cookies, and bottles of wine. Kids get together to play, drink hot cocoa, make up performances for their adults... and just be kids. We all come together simply to share in the spirit of the season.
We experience and embrace all these simple joys in this small window of the year. It helps our souls reconnect and grounds us to the things that matter most.
What about the holidays brings you the most joy?