Oh hey there.
A few notes up front: It is December 19, and we do not (yet) have a Christmas tree. I did not make Christmas cards, something I normally love. (I’m hoping for New Year’s cards.) We put no decorations on the outside of our house. We are not hosting a Christmas party.
One might think these are indications that we are just not into Christmas this year. While this is partially true – with a late Thanksgiving, Christmas has snuck up on me like woah – it’s mostly the result of me meeting the holiday where I am as a person, and where we are as a family. A friend sent around a lovely post about expectation vs. reality during the holiday season, and I found myself nodding along emphatically.
2019 has been a huge year. It was a year filled with travel, and new adventures in cooking, and the shedding of a few outgrown habits. Jason and I celebrated ten years of marriage. I turned 40. Hollyn is headed off to the University of North Florida in January. Tyler got his driver’s license. Hazel started kindergarten.
2019 has also been a year of lowering expectations. We did a few projects around the house, but most of our home improvement money was spent on un-fun things like tree removal and replacing duct work. I didn’t write much, here or anywhere else.
The most meaningful project we did was fixing the World’s Most Awkward Toilet. Our house has a tiny half bath on the first floor, and the placement of the toilet in that room was….a choice that an actual person made.
We got quotes from a few plumbers to rotate the toilet 90 degrees. The estimates ranged from NINE HUNDRED to ELEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS. For that kind of money, I’ll sit side-saddle, thankyouverymuch.
Then, my brilliant and long-suffering husband had the idea to turn the toilet a mere 45 degrees, which not only makes it look very dashing, but only cost us the price of a new wax seal.
As a bonus, we get to keep the tile floor and walls, which are suddenly fashionable again.
2019 was the Year of Vehicles. Jason, who has patiently driven a selection of older hand-me-down cars for the last few years, finally met the car of his dreams, a three-year-old Subaru Outback. And after many years of faithful service, I was able to turn in my minivan for a gently used Honda Accord.
We also bought a camper. I know.
After years of complaining loudly about all the primitive tent camping we had to do with the Cub Scouts, I find myself the owner of a pop-up camper we bought off Craigslist. I call her the Dawn Treader. Her maiden voyage was last weekend, to Falling Water State Park, and it could not have been more different than the aforementioned tent camping. We were warm! And dry! And comfortable! How novel!
I am actually – gasp! – looking forward to camping again in the near future. Not as much as Hazel, though. She definitely has her father’s camping enthusiasm.
I hope that you are able to meet the holiday where you are, and not where you feel you ought to be.