Christmas has been sneaky for me this year. I finally made it to Thanksgiving and a great trip to Boston after trying to balance being short-staffed at work, taking a grad school class, getting my sister married, and keeping up with friends and family both in Chicago and elsewhere. I felt like I could take a deep breath. And then all of the sudden Christmas announced it was here and dropped the mic...boom.
Usually, I'm a big fan of this time of year. I love the music, the lights, buying presents, parties, but this year something's been a bit off. Even my favorite thing to do- travel, seems like a lot of work right now. I think some of it is over-extending myself. I often finding myself buying into the 'you must be busy to be successful' culture. If you're not running around like a nut job, you're not doing enough. And this time of year certainly perpetuates that mentality- you'll miss out on all the fun if you don't go here, see that, buy this.
This weekend I tried to do a mental re-set. On Friday I went to the St. Lucia Festival in Andersonville. As a life-long Scandinavia enthusiast, I loved the songs, all sung in Swedish (I'm sure I sounded like the Swedish Chef), and watching a tradition that has been passed down through generations gave me that warm fuzzy feeling.
I enjoyed the Saturday morning snow and then set out by myself to find my Christmas spirit. For me, there's something about wandering around by myself that helps get rid of the funk (not the awesome George Clinton kind) that sometimes takes over my head. Walking around down Michigan Avenue from Streeterville to Millennium Park was full of window shopping, decorations, and a festive atmosphere, all while making me feel like the fastest walker in the world (ask my friends and family-I'm not).
What was really therapeutic was taking a break. No e-mails, Facebook, Twitter, for a few hours. No expectations that anything needed to be accomplished. I think that's what I need to do more of the in the next few weeks. I can't do it all and shouldn't try to. My Christmas spirit is just that...mine. It may look a little different that it has in past years, but I'll sing my Swedish hymns loud and proud with my awkwardly wrapped presents and poorly made desserts out of a Trader Joe's box. Happy Holidays...boom.
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