What I learned this Christmas

This year was my first Christmas after college, AKA my first Christmas as a true adult.

I now live in my own apartment with my boyfriend, we have our own ($40) Christmas tree, are trying to cultivate our own Christmas traditions, and have pretty much spent the past month running around with our heads cut off trying to see our families, buy/make gifts and cookies, and devote some time to simple Christmas pleasures like watching Rudolph and freezing our asses off at outdoor Christmas festivals.

Needless to say, I haven’t properly relaxed or had a minute to myself since before Thanksgiving.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE CHRISTMAS, as I’ve mentioned several times. But, this year I truly learned how hectic Christmas as an adult is. Between driving home 4.5 hours each way every weekend in December for family traditions to buying presents after a long day at work, to having to make my own meals to bring home, AND making both Christmas Eve and Christmas days meals, as is my custom, I just wore myself beyond thin.

Christmas as not only an adult living quite far from my home town and as a vegan proved tougher than I expected and really just kicked my ass.

While I had a merry Christmas full of all the things I love: tradition, good food, family, and friends, I did learn a few lessons that I will (hopefully) remember next year.

  1. No matter how hard I try, I cannot please everyone. I know you all feel me here. Between parents, in-laws (kind of), and friends, I was pulled in all sorts of directions and bent over backwards trying to fulfill every commitment and spend an adequate amount of time with each person I love. But, no matter how hard I tried, there was always someone I was letting down, or some experience I felt I was missing. Next year, I’m going to just concentrate on being where I am and not letting pressure or guilt or that “left out” feeling plague my thoughts. You can never, EVER, no matter how hard you may try, please everybody you’d like to, so please yourself first.
  2. Make gifts in advance. I had plans to knit gifts for my best friends and family, but started the process right after Thanksgiving…yeah right, Taylor, like that was ever gonna happen. I got one project done by the time December 19th rolled around and just threw in the towel on my homemade madness. Next year, if I really want to flex my creative muscle for gifts, I’ll be a big girl and plan ahead…maybe.
  3. DON’T plan as much. I know this sounds contradictory to what I’ve been saying, but I found that I just planned out my time too much! Next year, instead of scheduling a night to watch every single Xmas movie, go Xmas shopping, and drive all the way home, I’m going to keep my weekends freed up to indulge when I WANT to, not because I have planned it, and therefore HAVE to. I lost a bit of that magical joy and giddy feeling I get when I’m popping in an Xmas movie or deciding on a whim to make the trek back home for some holiday coziness because I had to go and plan it all out like a square. Relax, girl, and bring the magic back into Christmas.

These are just a few things I’ve learned this Christmas. It looks as if the underlying theme here is to take a step back and enjoy the magic of Christmas that you know and love more than forcing it. Rather than expending every energy to fulfill every obligation, just sink into where you are and take breath of that inner evergreen scent that’s inside us all at Christmas time.

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