Here I am sitting with my coffee and my Activia yogurt (because, constant traveler’s tummy…) trying to adequately put into words how I’m feeling about Christmas this year.
I was driving down a Florida highway two days ago. Palm trees whizzing by outside my window. Blue skies on the horizon. A hot blazing sun beating down on my windshield. AC blasting. And on the radio was that old festive tune, Walking in a Winter Wonderland.
I…. I just… I couldn’t form a correct emotion. I kind of wanted to laugh at the oddity. I kind of wanted to somehow reach my hand through the radio and slap the suntanned, flip flop wearing DJ who threw that song out on the airwaves who might very well have no idea what a Winter Wonderland is actually like. Mostly I was just sitting there in the car thinking, ‘This is NOT Christmas’.
And that’s something that Zac and I have said repeatedly since Thanksgiving came to a close. I think it’s a combination of not being home, not being cold, and not being frantically busy that has got us feeling holiday-confused.
So many things are different this year. For the past ten years, Zac has been heavily involved in producing our church’s Christmas concerts. This year, his friends were facetiming and texting to say hello during the show. For the past few years, we’ve hosted family Christmas at our house. I had a blast preparing goose one year and lamb the next. This year there will not only be no hosting, but we won’t even see those family and friends that we hold dear! It’s my very first Christmas that I’m spending away from my parents. Strange doesn’t even begin to describe that! My old co-workers at the church were texting me during their annual white elephant gift exchange to tell me that they missed my weird and silly gifts. I miss you all too, friends!
And NO SNOW?!?!?! Full disclosure: I have a love/hate relationship with snow. I love it until about January 15 and then I hate it. It’s a beautiful and fun change of seasons but then it somehow turns into nasty sludge later on in the winter. And sometimes it drags on into April. APRIL! Not ok. But for this North East Ohio girl, snow is a non-negotiable for that Christmas sense of holiday cheer. We don’t always have a white Christmas, but it is at least cold outside and it has snowed recently enough to feel like curling up on the couch in front of a fire with a blanket and cup of hot chocolate. I’m definitely having a hard time feeling festive here in the Florida sun. And to all of you who live in warm climates year long, I’m so happy that you love it and wouldn’t have it any other way. But for this northern girl, the heat is just not ringing true for the season.
Now, I am aware that this post thus far is feeling a little bit on the whinny side. Now let me tell you what has been awesome about Christmas on the road in an RV…. This has the been the simplest, least stressful, most relaxed Christmas I have ever experienced. And it has been glorious. People, let me share something revolutionary with you: The entire month of December does not need to revolve around Christmas. Christmas is one day. A wonderful day, mind you, where we celebrate the birth of our Savior with the ones we love the most, but still just one day. It’s not a month. I know there are those of you who like to break out the Christmas decorations on November 1st. And that’s great. You do that. But for myself, I have never before realized how daunting of a task it was to drag out the 17 boxes of Christmas decor up from the basement and spend an entire day setting it up until I didn’t have to do it this year. I feel like in the past, I may have fallen victim to doing far more than I needed to just because I felt pressure to make everything “perfect”. And pictures online and advertisements of perfect Christmas scenes didn’t always help with all my insecurity of my lack of decorative sense. And you know what, friends. I don’t even know what I’m trying to say here. I’m not saying boycott Christmas craziness. I’m not saying decorating is a bad thing. And I love seeing what my friends have done with their beautiful homes this time of year. I guess I’m just saying that this year has made me think and ponder. Ponder how much craziness is really necessary. Re-think how I might do Christmas differently in the future. Because it really doesn’t need to be so stressful. It really doesn’t have to kidnap your entire month of December (and the later part of November…). Bottom line: I’m really enjoying this super relaxed Christmas and we’ll see how it affects our future Christmases. This time next year, I might still be decorating like crazy…. we’ll just have to wait and see!
Now that you’ve heard my random musings about Christmas this year, let me share with you some pictures of our most recent destinations: Charleston, Savannah, St. Augustine, and Walt Disney World.