I’ve spent the first weeks of December slowly putting my existing holiday decor around the house, and I’ve started to add some new things to the mix – like this hallway lights thing in my entryway. Yeah, I finally succumbed to insta-inspiration. But I like it and think it’s cute.

There’s something magical about decorating for the holidays for the first time in a home. Figuring out how it wants to be adorned. And, frankly, figuring out what’s not overwhelming for me. Are you like that? I love having holiday decorations and the baking and the … disruption from my regularly scheduled programming of life, but at some point I’m done. I have disruption fatigue and end up yearning for a return to normalcy. Although that return always feels a bit different – a little cleaner, a little more stark in the contrast of its plainness to the decadence of the holidays. And I’m so conscious of how empty it can be – in the best of ways. There are worse things than to start a year feeling like “possibility is all around you. But I’m not there yet. I’m still in the gaudy fullness of the festive. 

I did some light decorating before kiddo got home from college. Well, i suppose it was nearly everything except the tree. And, I won’t post the tree. I’m not entirely sure why, but it feels too… personal? We arent an elegant tree family – handmade or meaningful or it doesn’t go on. Which means it’s not a curated, matchy/matchy social media type of tree. There’s no theme other than they all mean something to us. And we love it. But it’s ours. 

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

This is the very first year we won’t be together for some part of the holiday. I always facilitate taking her to her father’s for their nordic Chrstimas Eve’s and had her with me Christmas morning. But, cross the country is too far for that trek, so I encouraged her to go there to spend it with little half siblings. As much as I love the gaudiness, the warmness, the decor and banking and togetherness, there’s something extra magical about holidays with little ones. I could have gone to a friend’s, but my schedule and the weather made it just too much to consider doing. So, here I am.  It’s very quiet. But I get to make it most of the things that I like and very little that I don’t, so that’s a big win. And quiet is like a salve to my feeling of being stretched too tight, too thin, too… just “too” lately. 

I’ve also enjoyed local holiday kitsch, never having been in a small town for the holiday (well, except for one random holiday in a dinky French town, but for “reasons” I don’t count it). I went, along with the rest of the town to the lobster trap tree lighting. And to a big band holiday music concert at the town meetinghouse with kiddo. And I’ve hustled and bustled and wrapped and baked. And I went out to a yule/solstice ceremony down from the harbor, put my challenging year and my hopes for the new year into a baked good, lit a candle, sang and chanted and threw that little roll into the sea.

I’ve also fretted over the weirdo storm, whether I’d end up with water in the house (not from the ocean–from my latest house fuckery discovery of very, very bad drainage after a very juicy few days of rain) and experienced my first major storm surge from the ocean here. My beloved beach was underwater entirely. And I’ve enjoyed the unique beauty of a post-storm beach.

But so far, I’m still warm and cozy in my decorated house, listening to Bing and Frank croon holiday tunes off and on. Contemplating whipping up a gingerbread cake. And generally basking in the quiet. 

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