Holiday Presence

We are now entering the final three months of the year. A time weighed down in richer foods, soaked in beer and other spirits, kissed with cooler, crisper temperatures and moved along nicely by many a get-together, soirees and informal gatherings to celebrate the several holidays.

Actually those holidays are the catalyst for all of the above. Except the weather of course.
This time of year can go so quickly. It is made worse by the fact that immediately following this festive quarter, is the most boring, darkest, coldest, bleakest time in the year in this part of the world-the frigid malaise that is January through early March.
You are savoring your first pumpkin spice latte of the year one day* and you turn around and realize it’s January 15th all of the sudden, your knee deep in snow, and nothing anywhere means anything.
It blows.
Which is why I plan to engage in all of the holidays more this year. Don’t get me wrong, I have always been a huge fan of Christmas, and a pretty big one of Thanksgiving. Even Halloween, when I am around people who enjoy it. But for years I have let the holidays go buy and paid just lip service to being fully engaged in them.
Yes, I have enjoyed the time of year, as usual, but I have not reinvented my absorption of the sights, sounds, smells, and emotions of the holiday season in many a year. And I think this year is a good time to begin such a re-calibration once again.
It’s not just about going more places or doing more things, (though in the right context that can help.) But being more present at each of the things I do. And choosing those things to do and places to go not simply because that is what everyone does, or because tradition demands it, but because it can offer meaning and spiritual value to me on the moment, and not just overall.
My picture tends to be too broad sometimes. I spend a lot of time planning the so called “long-game.” I hope to use the holidays coming up this year as a way to remember the close up. The tight shot. The short yardage running play. And in so doing, grab more of the essence of festivities around me.
How do you celebrate holidays? Or anything at all?


  1. I love those moments when I'm engrossed in whatever I'm doing/thinking/feeling at the moment, and suddenly I stop and have that sensation of complete and utter connectedness with the moment. And it happens quite a bit during the holiday season. The simplicity of snowflakes falling, lights twinkling…. all that romantic type stuff haha.

    I have the issue, too, of not always being fully present, whether I'm at work, a social gathering, or whatever. Half my brain is always doing something else. Planning stories, imagining millions of implausible “what-if” scenarios that could happen instead of appreciating what actually IS happening.

    I love the holiday season, but I'm not sure how it will shape up this year, as I'm in a very different place (geographically and financially) than I have been in the past. Hopefully I will also remember to be present, and to take advantage of whatever opportunities present themselves for socializing and making friends.

  2. I too have a bad habit of always thinking long-term, planning ahead, and wondering what my next big move will be. Maybe that's why I love Christmas so much. It's a moment that makes me think back, rather than ahead, and I often want to grab ahold of it and make it last forever.

    For me, Christmas is twinkle lights and decorating the tree together, and baking the same five cookies with my family that I always bake, and singing the “Hallelujah Chorus” and finding the perfect meaningful gift for the most important people in my life. It's about family (whether blood-related or the family you create for yourself).

    Christmas is my least solitary time of year, because I want to share it with everyone!

  3. Thanks ladies. That is the sort of being present I am talking about. I have been less able to the last few years, and many traditions have been falling by the wayside due to various changes. But I hope to hold on to a few of them, and maybe begin some more. But the most important thing, as I said, is to absorb the individual moments.

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