Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Grocery Store Christmas

This is an article I wrote for the Winter issue of Hometown Clinton Magazine. I hope your day is full of too much food, fun with family, and remembering the real reason we have to celebrate. Merry Christmas! 

 When I was young, each year for Christmas my dad received a $100 gift certificate to an old grocery store as a part of his Christmas bonus. When he got home from work at lunchtime on Christmas Eve he, my mom, my little sister, and I would excitedly get in our car and make the 20 minute trip through the country to the store, playing Christmas carols and laughing as we drove. Once we arrived, the four of us rushed around picking out our favorite treats, planning the special snacks we wanted to make, and ultimately purchasing more impractical food than we would have dreamed of doing any other day of the year. The four of us would drive back home looking forward to spending Christmas Eve at my grandparents’ house. 

 To this day my family continues this tradition. The old grocery store has closed, the gift certificate is no longer part of my dad’s bonus, and my husband now joins us for this odd ritual that we look forward to with such anticipation. I feel sure a Christmas Eve grocery trip is not high on most people’s list of fun and exciting Christmas traditions, but for us it is a chance to slow down, spend time together, laugh, and remember the things that are important. “Grocery Store Christmas” did not come wrapped in a box, it was not fancy, and it certainly was not Pinterest worthy, but the lesson of learning to slow down and enjoy my family during the busiest time of the year is one of the greatest gifts my parents have ever given me. 

 The older I get, the busier the holiday season seems to become. There are parties to attend, foods to prepare, houses to decorate, and gifts to buy. This can be accompanied by a crushing pressure to do things just right-to create “perfect memories”. We may end up spending more money and time than we can afford, and on December 26th we are left feeling exhausted and like we missed something. There are many instances when we may feel tempted to spread ourselves too thin, but this is never truer than during our holiday season quest for perfection. It can feel difficult, even impossible, to find the space to slow down. 

 What if we did things differently this holiday season? What if we eliminated the pressure for perfection and intentionally left space for slowing down? What if we made extra room for relaxing with family, visiting with neighbors, and remembering the true reason that we have to celebrate on Christmas day and every other day of the year? My guess is that we’d feel a little more full on December 26th- full of joy, full of peace, and full of “Grocery Store Christmas” memories.

No comments:

Post a Comment