you can start celebrating right now

My child is young enough that time is still pretty fluid for her.  

A Halloween costume can be worn to the library on a random Tuesday in November.  Thanksgiving can be pretty much any big meal where we have fun friends or family around and even so much as mention great-aunt Reesy.  And Christmas is essentially here now because our neighbors hung lights on their house this weekend.

Thank goodness.  Her perspective has been a powerful teacher for me.

I've finally realized over the past few years of having this child in our lives that cramming all our celebrating into one or two days every season makes us crazy and misses the point.

If we love being creative or grateful or merry-and-bright so much, why are we trying to do each of these things all in one day?  And why do they take so much preparation?  And why do we feel like we need a vacation when it's all over?

Often when I read well-meaning thoughts about all this, I see a list of things that I could *add* to my holiday routine:  Make a special holiday card with your child, go for pink-cheeked walks at the local nature preserve, take some time out for a warm bath while you listen to Christmas carols and dream about happy little elves who do your laundry.

And these things really are lovely and simple ideas for celebrating.  

But we can't simplify by adding lovely, simple things to an already over-crowded schedule.

Lovely, simple things are still MORE THINGS. 

That said...

When you take out the clutter, the obligation, and even the traditions that don't work for your family anymore, you can have a little more space to honestly celebrate during the holidays.

You can go to fewer parties and have more family nights with hot chocolate around the fire.

Or you can go to more parties but take a pass on sending holiday cards and hanging lights.

You can skip the handmade, Pinterest-inspired project, and go for a bundled-up winter walk.

You can decide not to put out your six boxes of holiday decorations, and enjoy a few jingly, twinkly, sentimental things you love the most.

You can pass up making the meal when friends come over, and order a boatload of buffalo wings and open a bottle of champagne instead.  (Hat tip: Our neighbors did this very thing as part of their Thanksgiving weekend.)

For me, warm apple cider with a fire in the fireplace, a winter walk to look at lights, picking out a tree at the TROSA lot, and some simple time with friends and family all feel like celebrating.

None of those things have to be prep-heavy.  And none of those things have to happen on December 25.

What if our merry and bright started right now?  On December 3.  Without any preparation at all.

PS:  Via comments and emails I've gotten over the past two days, we have swell little group of folks who are jumping into the Grand Experiment for a Lower Stress Work Life in December with me.  Yay!  If you wanna hop in, too, leave a comment on Monday's post, and I'll send you an encouraging message or two along the way.