While I love the selecting of gifts, Christmas carols, twinkling lights, wrapping presents, baking cookies and seeing family, it all reaches to the point where it's simply time to move on. After four days of relaxing, laughing, family time, presents and eating too much junk, I'm thankful for a heaping salad and some quiet time.
The holidays have become something that while joyous, are also stressful and overwhelming for me.
I found myself reflective as I drove home last night (with the dog passed out in the back seat) about it all. These presents are appreciated (but not needed), the giving feels good (but never as much as I'd like), family bonding is fun (but there's never enough time to have all the conversations you'd like), the cookies, booze and cheese are delicious (but not 5 lbs delicious).
But amidst it all, the chaos has me feeling thankful for everything and everyone in my life. These rare occasions to see family and relax a little make me appreciate my family and this life a whole lot more. While the manfriend and I were not together on Christmas, I also felt grateful for his presence in my life.
Spending time with family and friends means so much more than any gift under the tree. It's amazing to look back on my ten year old self who might have been disappointed if I hadn't received one item on my Christmas list. With time and some perspective brings us the realization that each other is all we really need.
The holidays are definitely more joyful than they are exhausting, but in 2012 I hope to look at ways of making the season just a bit more simplified, yet equally satisfying for me.
And finally, a few baby pics because babies make everything happier, more stress free and fun.
Mikaela is my cousin's six month old who happily babbled at us and entertained herself all of Christmas morning.