Knitter, a confession: This is the time of year—mid-December—when I always hope to have cards sent out. Traditionally, this is also the time of year that I admit to myself holiday cards aren’t going out in time, and maybe I’d better look ahead to February and think about sending valentines instead. I’m good at giving myself permission to postpone things, even in years when “things” are “normal” and I might have been able to “predict” the need to buy stamps and send greetings.
This year I’m extending my support for postponing and abandoning traditional efforts to you and the community at large. There’s something about the winter holidays that encourages excess. Our inner maximalist encounters few natural limits. Even in a plague year, I’ve sensed the forces of biggification gathering steam for the final stretch: Finish big!, they’re saying. Tie the year up in a bow, never mind the contents!
Must we, this year, live up to standards that were set in simpler times? Nothing has been simple this year, nothing uncontroversial. Everything was contested. Was there even one moment that we looked around and said to ourselves, “Wow, we’ve straightened up and are flying right and can now celebrate with grand gestures?” I can’t remember that moment.
So no, we need not fret about living up to standards that made sense in the ancient past, aka 2019. If we don’t want to go all out, there is still time to send our regrets to wherever these expectations come from. Hear ye, no need to:
- go big
- do everything perfectly
- make up for all the hardships and sorrows of the year
- share your fruitcake with people who will never appreciate its glory
Instead, we could say a polite No, thanks to biggification and extravagance. Maybe we take what time off we are getting this year to, I don’t know, take time off and just enjoy small things.
If you are thinking right now, Enjoy small things!? Even small things would be a long hike north for me right now, well, I hear you and I say: If you want to just crawl to the end of the year, that’s all I’ll be doing and I’d love company.
So here it is: permission not to push hard, close the books and finish all the things so you can then pull together festive extravaganzas and everything riding on them.
If you live for the holidays and are more than ready to make merry, I applaud you and appreciate your spirit. If you need to let yourself off the hook this year, though, I cosign your hook-letting-off 100%, because it helps other people let themselves off the hook and this year, more than ever, there are people need that so badly.
If you are going small and doing new and different things to mark the end of this year, I would love to hear about them! And I wish you a very peaceful season.