I absolutely love the holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Years! It’s such a magical time that is so unlike the rest of the year. There’s the magic of the first snow (FYI subsequent snowfall is redundant and unnecessary!), the switch to festive Christmas music, the decorating of houses and trees, the baking of cookies (oh the baking!) and so much more! I mean, what other holiday has its own playlist?? There are numerous reasons to love the holiday season and I embrace them all.
For over 17 years (essentially most of my adult life), I spent my holiday seasons working all hours of the day, night and the holidays themselves. In the beginning of my retail career, the holiday season (peak season) was fun, fast and profitable. It was exciting to work late helping shoppers and every weekend day flew by due to the sheer volume of business we would do. Early on as a manager, spending all of my time at work made me feel important and needed. Not to mention that in those days we still had Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter off and were closed. But as my twenties faded into my thirties (and eventually my early forties), I realized just how much I was missing out on.
My immediate family is small and we don’t have any extended family that is nearby. As I matured, my priorities shifted to want to spend more time with them, especially during the holidays. But with my crazy work schedule, most often I found myself having to say no to most activities. This became even more glaringly so after the birth of my first niece in 2015. There is nothing like seeing the holiday season through the eyes of a child!
For these and several other reasons (that’s another post in itself!), I decided to leave my retail career in early November of 2018. And suddenly I had the most amazing holiday season of my adult life! Suddenly it became the Season of Yes!
Christmas shopping on a Saturday in November with my sister? YES!
A make-believe surprise party with my niece on a Friday afternoon? YES!
A dinner date on a Monday evening? YES!
Spend 2 weeks entertaining and visiting with my 89 year old grandmother who only makes the trip every couple of years? YES!
Spend the entire Thanksgiving Day at my parent’s house and not be the first to leave? YES!
Help the Women’s Ministry at church with a Christmas party for kids who lost a parent or guardian this year? YES!
Attend a Christmas concert at church? YES!
Catch up with several different friends at lunch or dinner? YES!
Cookie baking day with my mom? YES!
Babysit my niece for a few hours? YES!
Attend Christmas Eve service fully rested and in a festive mood? YES!
Brunch and shopping with my mom? YES!
Send Christmas cards to loved ones? YES!
Handmade gifts for Christmas? YES!
Finally…I got say yes to so many people, places and things this past holiday season! While I know they all won’t be as magical and free as this one was, rest assured they will never be as restricting as before. I am forever grateful for my season of yes and what it helped me to experience. Striking a balance will be key going forward so that every future holiday season will be heavily weighted with yeses. There are certain things in life that I am no longer willing to compromise on. Family and relationships will continue to come before work no matter what I end up doing.