This week, Greg and Cara have returned home, Kaitlyn and Matt have finally taken a few moments to themselves after a whirlwind Christmas week and Jim and I conducted our annual ‘boxing up Christmas’ afternoon. I must say, I kind of love that afternoon. I do also love bringing out the decorations and getting the house ready for the holidays, but I think I might love the ‘boxing up Christmas’ part even more. There is something about setting things in order that feeds my soul. Maybe getting rid of the ‘clutter’ helps open up space for me to do creative thinking about the new year, about new goals and about what business and personal ventures I want to partake in.
This year, as we were boxing up, I did feel a bit melancholy about marking the end of our season. We had such a great family time. We were so lucky to have both kids, and their new spouses, with us this year. We fully understand that this will not always be the case, as they have other families to consider and they will be creating their own traditions too. So we understood full well that this year was a very special one. We understood this going into the season and we tried to think of ways to make this year special and to create some new traditions that would include everyone. Hence the Dog Sledding morning in Canmore and the seafood feast along with the homemade pasta on Christmas Eve. I tried to live right in the middle of each moment (never more true than when I was driving the dog sled!), and to appreciate our time together. And still, I was ok with getting the house back to normal.
As Jim and I were cleaning up though, I got to thinking. We were chatting about how much we had enjoyed the holidays and remarking how lucky we were. We were thinking about how long it might be before we are all back together again. And I began to think that as I put our Christmas decorations in boxes, and as they each made me think of a memory, that in some ways I was boxing up Christmas figuratively as well as literally.
I realized that this did not need to be the case. Why, I wondered, do we only bring out the best of ourselves for such special occasions? At Christmas, not only do I think about each meal I will serve, I also make sure that I create a welcoming atmosphere around it. Not only do I wrap gifts, I make sure that I have found a gift I am proud to give. I bake items that I know are favourites of our family. My brother loves my cinnamon buns and since I typically make them for Christmas morning when he is not here, I always make him a special batch on Christmas day that he can take home for Boxing Day breakfast. Around the holidays, I also make sure that I serve generous portions of welcome, of lightheartedness, of ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’, of smiles, of attention to detail, of laughter, of memory making and of time with friends and family.
This year, I have decided, I will not box up all of Christmas. I did, of course, box up the garland and the tree, the nativity and the Christmas mugs but I chose not to box up the person I was ‘being’ at Christmas. I have chosen not to box up the feelings I had at Christmas. I have chosen to remember to make time for friends and family this year, to think of things all year long that will become wonderful memories, to pay attention to little details of things that I know matter to others, to create a welcoming and warm atmosphere in our home and to ‘keep the front porch light on’.
As you embrace this New Year of 2017, what parts of your Christmas do you need to retrieve from your storage? My challenge for you this week is to decide what element of Christmas you can bring to your life all year long.
As I mentioned in my last blog, I have committed to making some changes to my business. It’s funny how just writing this in last week’s blog has kept me accountable. And it is more interesting to note that some new business opportunities have already come my way. You’ll note that I have changed my business name to ‘Critchley Coaching’. I’ve also thought of the title for my next ‘public’ workshop, that I will offer in early February. Keep watching for details. And please contact me to help you create the best year yet. Living a life that matters is a matter of choice. Choose well this year!