Here’s the Thing: One thing at a time

This article just happens to be on the day of Christmas. No pressure.

This isn’t really my year for talking about the overwhelming power of peace, love, and joy. I’m not Scrooge, but I’m definitely not Tiny Tim hobbling around optimistically either. I’m an ornament on the tree. Just sitting and watching and feeling like that’s enough purpose for now.

That’s the mood of the season for me. Enjoy it, get through it, and go easy on yourself. It might sound a little lazy, because it is. I’m actively giving myself permission to not stress out or feel like a failure. I’ve never been a type A personality, but you don’t have to be a super organized person to feel like you’ve dropped the ball. No one likes feeling under pressure to perform a certain way. Sometimes pressure gives me energy and pushes me to challenge myself, but lately it just pushes me into wanting to take a nap. As of now it’s fun to relax, listen, and watch others enjoy this time of year.

Watching others enjoy Christmas is working its Christmas magic on me. The pictures of cute people in their ugly sweaters are fun to see. Or ugly people in cute sweaters. Maybe I just like seeing people in sweaters. Everyone is so excited to get festive and join in the merriment. I feel like the person participating in the nosebleed section of a concert. You can’t really see me, but here I am, clapping along like a fool. All the bright and cheery functions are easy to be at. You can usually (always) find me lingering around the food. I’ve eaten Christmas cookies for dinner at least once, so holiday success is at my finger tips. (If I’m still eating Christmas cookies for dinner in January, then I’ve hit rock bottom and someone needs to bail me out.)

Multitasking is the name of the game. Juggling an everyday routine feels a little more intense during this sacred time. This Christmas has been fast and furious. My house looks like the aftermath of a hurricane. Our diet has been getting creative with whatever we find in the fridge. My mother told me to bring homemade cole slaw to our family luncheon, so I mixed a bag of Craisins and a shredded head of cabbage into two tubs of the grocery store’s finest home made deli slaw. I’m living Christmas lies and it feels so good.

About a decade ago I’d see people like me start to spiral during the holidays and feel sorry for them. I’d bake cutesy things, make an effort, and was on time to everything. Hahaha! Being on time. What is that even like? I might be late, but “better late than ugly” is becoming my new motto for my mid-30s where every day feels like I was younger yesterday. Now I cut every corner I can and hope I’m doing a decent job of it. I get updates on my kid’s school events by sitting with the PTA moms during my son’s hockey practice. I filter through my Facebook feed like it’s junk mail and post something every now so people don’t think I’m dead. I make sure to see all the pictures of everyone’s Christmas trees, living rooms, and baked goods so I can compliment them in real life and seem like I’m up to date on everyone. Our house might not be decked out like the North Pole, but it’s still pretty. Little efforts are still better than no efforts, right? Don’t judge me.

It’s hard to process Christmas magic at a fast pace. When my house is clean, the decorations are put away, and our schedule is wide open, what is left? During the chaos, I need that reminder of what Christmas means. For most people it means something so much bigger then ourselves. It means we’re not alone the other days of the year. It means joy, hope, and love still exist even during the times when we think it doesn’t. There is always an abundance of grace and mercy if we pay attention. Now is always a great time to flex our loving spirit.

Here’s the thing: As the December holidays come to a close, January’s pace is full of relaxing potential. Or a lot of working out depending on what my glucose levels are doing. It’s a good thing to take inventory of the positive experiences and reflect on how to maximize the full potential of “getting it together”. Maybe my house will stay messy for a while, but I’ll get a chance to enjoy my kids being out of school. Distractions can be powerful, but getting your focus back after all the holiday chaos feels so good. Especially when you’re with the ones you love.

Kasi McClure enjoys being a wife and mother of two in Kenai. She can be reached at columnkasi@gmail.com.

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