(Post) Holiday Thoughts 2023


Christmas day is over.  I know the season continues for another 12 days (until Epiphany) and this week is a holiday for most.  (I am working, but no one else seems to be doing much...good news is that I don't have to physically go into the office until next year.  (The last commute of 2023 was a doozy:  https://bfthsboringblog.blogspot.com/2023/12/shortest-daylongest-night.html).  So while I have a spare moment, I thought I'd write up my thoughts as this has been yet another strange holiday.

  • I regret not appreciating Christmas gatherings when I could.  The last time I had my family over for Christmas was in 2019.  It was a pain in the you know what and at the time we all tried to figure out a way to make it easier for all of us.  (My parents were at the shore, we were up north).  Christmas 2020 was nixed due to fears of Covid.  Christmas 2021 was when my son, my husband and I all had Covid (thanks to a pre-holiday sweet 16 party...one heck of a "party favor" that he brought home).  By 2022 my mother had died and the shore area had flooded and frozen, so I didn't get down there to see my father until the end of the week.  Now here I am in 2023 with both parents gone, my one "Aunt" moved 4 hours away and my other aunt having some mobility issues.  (I am thankful that she was able to come down and celebrate a little with us.  While she lives not too far away, we don't visit each other often enough and that needs to change in 2024. )  Hindsight is 20/20...make the most of the times that you have (no matter how irritating they may seem to be at the time) because you don't know when they might end.
  • I attended a "Blue Christmas"/Longest Night service on the 21st and I'm glad I did.  I never did get the holiday "feeling" and this service was an important reminder that the holiday isn't bright for everyone.  It was good to be among people who are also facing challenges during the "most wonderful time of the year."  I did cry a little; and that was (probably) a good thing.
  • Although Hanukkah is over, we were able to have a gathering with my in laws.  Miraculously my mother-in-law can still manage to find sweaters that my son likes as gifts.  (I've given up on the whole clothing thing because he never seems to like what I get him.  I'm pretty sure the two sweaters and pants that I got for him last year are lingering in a drawer somewhere untouched.)  We ate a LOT.  (I made a lot of cookies....probably 6 dozen out of which I must have consumed more than a dozen myself...can you guess what my New Year's resolution will be [again] this year?  Maybe this year I will actually commit to it and clothing will actually start to fit properly again?)
  • I didn't observe advent as much as I usually did; meaning I didn't reflect as much and I didn't attend church on the Sunday of joy.  (We went away on a pre-holiday Holiday vacation to Skytop which is worthy of its own blog post...IF I get to it.)  PLUS, this year Christmas Eve fell on a Sunday, which meant the 4th Sunday of Advent (Love) was kind of overlooked. (If I ruled the church calendar this would be different, but...)  I'm not the only one who felt that way, as I attended a 4th Sunday in Advent service on a Saturday night...which helped pave the way for Christmas Eve.
  • When Christmas Eve is a Sunday, everything is wonky.  I know in the past there have been 3 services (morning, afternoon and evening) at my church.  (Which is totally crazy.)  This year the morning service became what was once the family afternoon service.  (Where my son the layreader got to narrate as a donkey...hold your comments.)  I had planned on making pot roast (at my son's request) that evening, but nary a pot roast was to be found.  I feel back on ham and as a result I wasn't as prepared as I usually would be.  (I don't think I pulled off the meal as well as I usually would)  My son and I also attended an evening service was earlier than usual and a bit different, but enjoyable. However, I knew my son wanted to go to his girlfriend’s afterwards, so I rushed home afterwards so that he could get going.  (I also stayed awake until he came home, which was just after midnight.)  Christmas Eve was a LONG day.
  • Christmas itself was rather low key.  I have to say that it felt like "a day" rather than "CHRISTMAS DAY."  (If that makes any sense.)  Yes, there were presents, but...it just didn't feel "right" to me.  If my aunt hadn't come down, it probably would have felt even less so.  There was so much change this year that I didn't have a good plan in place to get into the holiday mood for the actual day.  (I did get the "feeling" at certain points when we were at Skytop, so that kind of counts, right?)

I knew this holiday was going to be challenging and it wasn't.  Maybe I should have had a better "plan" in place.  Or maybe I wasn't ready to figure it all out.  In any event, as I have almost gotten through this year and I'm hoping (praying) that the next year will be better.  That when I say "Merry Christmas" I don't just mean it, but I feel it too...


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