Retreat to win
I used to try a lot harder to win at Christmas. I’d be strategic about the cookies I’d bake and the music I’d play and the time I’d spend under Christmas lights, trying to increase my levels of holiday joy like it was some kind of hormone. I’m not sure when all that changed but I suppose it was gradual. I think to some extent it was something I did more when I was single—some need for joyful mindfulness that lost its focus once I met Chris. And then we travel for most Christmases these days, and there are now significant parts of my life that are ruled by deadlines, so it comes as no surprise (and with not much regret) that the little rituals dropped away. And then do you remember a few years ago when LED holiday lights first came on the market and they were weird and strange and cold, like cyborg tears? I think that sort of broke the spell and set me free a little.
And so I manage, not quite winning at holidays. (And clearly not at Holidailies either, though if I wind up with a dozen entries this month I’ll be happy.) I did make some cookies on Saturday, because I’d had a box of gingerbread cookie mix that had been in the pantry for a couple years and had been meaning to use, and it was a rainy gray day where I kept meaning to run errands but couldn’t quite bring myself to leave the house, and instead I’d been writing and running the hot water kettle all day for tea, and suddenly I felt like using some of the old tin cookie cutters from my mom and grandma that my dad had sent me last year. And so I made the dough and rolled it out and cut it and baked the cookies in the same amount of time it took to play the Carpenters Christmas album on the TV room turntable. So score one for me.