Tidings of Comfort & Joy… (Right?)


You may recall my inspirational views on making the holiday season MEANINGFUL – in our own ways – as shared last season. It’s really worth a re-visit, especially if you regularly feel pulled in too many directions this time of year, and aren’t truly savoring this otherwise magical season that is supposed to be an annex to joy.

So this year – we’re amping it up another notch. We are doing something new and amazing…. We’re taking a lovely break from ‘it all’ (including day-to-day things, like laundry and electronics, and being pulled in multiple directions by other people and ‘events’)…

Okay – enough with the suspense already – Here it is! We’ve finally decided to GO FOR IT – and we’ve planned a HOLIDAY GET-AWAY – (for 4)! Wheeeee! EVERY single time I think about it – I get this jolt of excitement all over again! It’s like being a kid and remembering that Santa is headed in your direction. [Yeah – remember THAT feeling? Well I’m learning how to reignite that sensation – though it’s no longer about glitter and goodies. It’s about that JOY, and memories, genuine bonding, & actual FUN – Hot damn!]

Speaking of Santa, did you know that he sees you when you’re sleeping, and knows when you’re awake? Hence, he also happens to know where we’ll be on Christmas morning this year – in our little cabin rental in the north woods. So – that concern is out of the way! Other than that – there were absolutely NO concerns that came to mind when deciding to plan our family holiday adventure. NONE. This comes largely in part thanks to the freedom that comes with finally establishing healthy boundaries. And, it helps to realize which relationships are based on pure love & shared acceptance without judgement when you come out on the other side of a (much-needed) breakthrough. That – and life – well, it is happening NOW.

BUT, it’s also because of how we consciously, deliberately, and more consistently choose happiness. I’ll share my even-deeper-yet-simplified feelings on this subject within a little story:

I’m at the chiropractor’s office, and my doc and one of the friendly nurses are in the room – chatting it up as they work their magic. The holidays come up in convo – as the nurse unapologetically states that she’s in no way happy about this approaching season. I counter with the fact that I’m exceptionally excited – more so than I’ve been since I was a kid! (And even then, our hectic schedule had us floundering like chickens without heads. The thing is – the frenzy of it fell more onto our parents’ shoulders at that stage. We kids mainly got to revel in the fun aspects of it. Now as an adultno frenzies for me, thanks!)

So of course, intrigued, they ask what we’ll be doing this year. I told them we’re renting a cabin in the woods. Peace. Serenity. Zero distractions. New adventures. Meaningful memories. Comfort…. & Joy.

This was followed by a, “Good for YOU!”, And, “What a fantastic idea…” And then….. the nurse paused. After which she asked, “Do you think that any other family members will be upset that you aren’t going to be part of the big gatherings?”

Here’s that simple-yet-deep (and very heart-centered) insight. My reply to her inquiry went like this, “Well, some will probably be disappointed, but we’re just done giving up on things that hold real meaning for us because of other people’s traditions.” You’d think I’d just preached to my choir – as the cheers rang out! “Thank YOU. SERIOUSLY – THANK YOU. That’s what makes you a good mommy, do you know that? Those memories you’ll have together up there are going to last far longer than the typical ‘gatherings and gifts’ with all the commotion.” {Enter, high-five – literally!} – Doc.  And from the nurse, a resounding,  “GOOD for YOU! That’s so awesome! Who needs all that extended-family drama? Yep, we feel the same way in our house. We have a very different tradition that we all look forward to…” (She went on to share her family’s uniquely fun way to relish in the joy of the season, which isn’t really my place to share publicly.) BUT – didja catch that last phrase? …”TRADITION WE ALL LOOK FORWARD TO…”? Now we’re talkin’! [PS: I’ve also recently received a fist-bump from our credit-union rep to this effect!]

So while this year, I won’t be physically ‘home for Christmas’, I’ll definitely be at home – spiritually! Personally, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate – with the ones I’m truly closest to. The goal is never to intentionally hurt anyone else, but we can’t base our choices on anyone else either. We merely march to the beat of our own rum-pa-pum-pum.

And BTW, though we are in no way focusing on it – we missed the opportunity to experience an authentic, Belgian-horse-drawn sleigh ride through lantern-lit wilderness with our little girls by ONE year. (Joel and I got to experience this over 11 years ago – and it’s like something out of a fairy tale. The lodge owners decided that last year was their final season.) Again – going to focus on the joy – (quiet evenings in the wilderness by the fire, possible moose-sightings, maybe some norther lights, lit cross-country ski trails, snowshoeing, sledding, a dogsled ride, snowmobiling, warm cozy fires in the fireplace, visiting a good friend while there, delish meals [some cooked by us, and a couple of them ‘out’], plus other fab memories sure to occur!) But I tell you this because it’s a gooooood remindernot to put things off until ‘some day’…. Eat the Lobster! After all, life isn’t going to wait…. it’s happening right now. “Me no can waiiiit”! OOPS – sorry – I just slipped back to about age 7 for a minute there…. (and that was my very BEST Cookie Monster impression.)

I think this is actually the first time I’m truly ‘dreaming of a white Christmas’ too….. Though, if that doesn’t happen, I’ll in no way complain! We’ll simply have to A) Relish in all the non-snow activities (hikes through the woods, moose-antler-shed hunting, star-gazing, looking for the Northern Lights, and just being cozy and playing fireside games with music and laughter…. And B) We’ll also just have to go again next year! 🙂


Please – share in the comments! I want to know some of the unique and fun things others embrace to celebrate their holidays with real meaning. How do you keep it ‘jolly’?

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2 Responses

  1. […] ADVENTURES; WE FULLY UNPLUG! Tidings of Comfort & Joy With our recent adventures up in the northern wilderness of MN over Christmas, we got to completely […]

  2. […] post is fitting as the holidays approach…a potential minefield of guilt. It’s a wonderful time to do nice things for others, […]

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