Peace Amidst Striving For The Elusive “Simple” Holiday

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As a writer and blogger, I surf around, peeking into people’s homes through my screen (that sounds creepy doesn’t it!). This week, all this peeping and snooping has left me feeling a bit less than. I don’t create all the pinteresty glamour in my home that it appears, 99% of America is creating.

It’s nearly thanksgiving and thousands and thousands of voices are sounding about how to savor the seasons, not get overwhelmed in the process, and not feel pressure to climb that mountain of performance. They say well-,meaning things like, “Simply drape lovely greenery in clusters around the banister to create a harmonious and peaceful…”

They lost me at simply.

Life is full and complete and busy without baking extra loaves of bread, draping greenery and redecorating an entire home, or purchasing or making a gift for every person on the list (didn’t I just do this less than a year ago?!).

As all these “simply” do this and this and that and that and you can have a relaxing and peaceful holiday season ideas start to bounce around, the weight on my shoulder from all these simple ideas got really heavy this week. So what did I do?

I made a speech to my husband, clarifying that I am not the crafty wife that makes a perfect holiday season, I am not a baker, I am not a decorator, I am not…I am not… I am not. He listened, smiled, and said, “I know. So what?”

Four words that infuriated and liberated me all at once.

To prove him wrong (no, to prove myself wrong!) I cooked up a storm tonight. On my counter right now are four loaves of bread, rising and proofing to be perfected in the oven tomorrow morning. Their neighbor on my counter is two gallons of freshly bottled Kombucha and their cousins in the fridge, are two Mexican chocolate cakes. All the fruit of my labor from one, furiously focused rampage in my kitchen in one afternoon.Image

It was fun! Liberating! I felt like I was connecting to all the great women all over the world buzzing around in their kitchens getting ready for a “peaceful and beautiful” Martha Stewart Thanksgiving. I cut in the butter and thought, “How many women are doing this very thing, right now!” I am part of the greater womanhood too, I screamed in my mind.

My kids came through the kitchen off and on during my five hour cooking mania, wide-eyed and saying comments like, “You’re amazing mama! Is that really a chocolate cake?” (I liked that one!) and”Wow Mama! What got into you!?”

And really, I am not too sure. Usually I just want to be outside and it’s hard to be domestic, outside, far away from my home. I settle on and am comfortable being an athletic mom, that likes to sweat and run and hike and do some yoga. I cook for health, not for aesthetics or even flavor. If it tastes good, that’s a bonus! But, we will eat our kale and swiss chard every week…

Today I mixed it up. Surprised my family and surprised myself, connected with the women of the world, and did a power climb up that mountain of performance for this holiday season. I will show up next week to our holiday gatherings with four loaves of fresh Rosemary/Gruyere cheese bread, two Mexican Chocolate cakes, sprouted almond crusted cranberry and pear torte, and even a smile but in my suitcase, my running shoes will be waiting for me.

My husband said it well. Who cares if I’m not Martha Stewart. I am me. He married Julie. The way we do holidays is our own special brand of the season and really, each of us can just rest in letting go of the competition of the holidays and  instead, rest in doing the holidays our own way. 

Let these four weeks reflect you – not Martha, not Paula Deen, not Southern Comfort Magazine…

You! Glorious You!

Happy holidays!

Julie

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