Christmas time is a wonderful time of year but I have a hard time keeping my balance. This balancing act takes on many forms.
I must balance my budget with my desire to shower everyone I love with gifts. My mom was fortunate enough in her later years to have enough resources that she would shop all year for each of her family members. She would arrive at the extended family holiday celebration with a VW Vanagon loaded with gifts. It would take us a long time to unload the plethora of presents, crowding them under the tree and dwarfing the gifts already in place there. I understand now how tempting it is to be generous and lavish everyone with physical evidence of love. But I am lucky enough that I also got to experience the overwhelm that comes with this amount of generousity. Over the past few years, we have moved to the other side of the pendulum and now give each other the gift of time, laughter and playing games. We extend our holidays by adding on a “game day” on the 26th, playing charades and board games until we have to drag ourselves home to rest our smile muscles. The connection with each other is the best gift of all. Other families have traditions that allow one gift each, of giving to favorite charities, of white elephant exchanges or only buying for the kids. Perhaps we will move to the center and once again agree to buy presents. But for now, this works for our family. Still I fight the urge to “cheat” and buy out the store for each of my family members.
Speaking of cheating, I find it difficult to balance my choices around heathy eating during the holidays. My inner voice insists that because these special treats only come around once a year, it won’t hurt to indulge. My weakness is eggnog. Oh yes, and cookies. Did I mention pumpkin pie? Or red and green M&M’s? I have been diligent about exercising every day for the past few weeks but I have to remind that little devil on my shoulder that exercise does not give me permission to cater to my every gastronomic whim. (My main trick is to keep it out of my house. I have not figured out how to resist at parties. Sigh)
Even though I love decorating the house for the holidays, recent circumstances and the travels we are on have forced me to downsize. This pendulum swing has been difficult for me. It would be nice to have a festive Christmas tree and boughs of holly on every wall but that is not possible for now. I struggle to keep myself from getting forlorn over the lack of adornment, although usually I am quite proud of my ability to simplify our lives. In an attempt to help alleviate the melancholy, I have purchased a couple of things to add some festive color to our home. More balancing.
Living in a new places has its challenges. Every time we move, I have to find a way to handle our mail, search for internet connections, learn a new grocery store and remember where the bathroom is when I wake up in the middle of the night. This adventure we are on has also been interesting, exciting and wonderful. I am more adaptable than I ever realized. My connection with my husband is stronger than I ever knew it could be. Remembering what I am grateful for helps even out the difficulties. It helps me find my balance once again.