Traditions, Expectations, and Choosing Happiness

Copyright Sarah Davidson 2020

Last year’s Christmas was spent with family and friends, all throughout the month of December. On one particularly special weekend, my college friends and I went to Carillon Park–with two of those friends’ first child. At the time, he was only about five months old.

This year’s Christmas is a lot different. I haven’t seen those friends in over a year. (And their little baby has grown so much!)

We’ve missed a lot this year. COVID-19 has led to a lot of time at home. Many of the parties and get-togethers that are simply a part of December have, this year, gone to the wayside in the name of safety.

But, through all of this, I have been consistently impressed by everyone’s creativity. So many traditions may not be able to happen, but by utilizing Zoom or FaceTime, people have still connected. I’ve also heard of people sending out Christmas cards who usually wouldn’t, just as a way to continue to reach out. (And you’d better believe that I sent that sweet baby a gift through the mail.)

We all have expectations about the Christmas season. Many of those come from the mindset of: “We’ve always done that.” And, yes, no one loves traditions more than I do. (My family and I often joke that our traditions have traditions.)

But this year, perhaps the most important thing is not to stubbornly cling to those obvious expectations–holiday parties and Christmas-themed outings.

Perhaps, instead, we should focus on the less obvious: The expectation that the holiday season comes with joy.

We live in an age where togetherness is only a click of a button away. It may not be perfect, but still, what a gift that we still have that option.

We may not be able to visit extended families, but we can still make our time with those in our homes special. Less that we can do this year also means less that we have to do. Shorter to-do lists mean more time for those quiet moments watching a movie or just enjoying a cup of hot chocolate.

This has been a strange year and an even stranger holiday season. But we have a choice every day of our lives. We can be inventive. We can live in the moment. We can embrace what we have rather than grasping what we don’t.

We can choose happiness.

On this Christmas Eve, I wish everyone happiness–even if it might not be the happiness we expect.

Lots of love, everyone. Stay safe, and Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

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