Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Christmas Season Eve

For some, the Christmas season begins when the retailers start putting out decorations shortly after bathing suit season. For others, it begins the day after Thanksgiving, or when they hear the first Christmas song on the radio. 

For me, it begins when I close the books on fall semester. 

Earlier this afternoon, I entered my last grade for fall semester. I still have a few administrative tasks to dispense with but, for me, hitting "submit" for the grades in that last class flipped the switch. 

Bring it on! 

It's not that I want to be a Scrooge until mid-December. It's just that I can't relax and enjoy all the season has to offer when I'm carrying ungraded work around like some kind of evil twin of Santa's sack of goodies.With no elves to help me trudge to the end of the semester, I put on my blinders and forge ahead, saving most of the fun stuff until that last grade has been calculated and posted. 

And then, it's time.

For Christmas. For writing. For organizing. For a break. For all of the things those blinders kept at bay until they felt less like chores and more like things I could celebrate and savor. Though I'm not yet in all-Christmas-all-the-time mode, the list of Christmas tasks has at least zoomed closer to the top of my to-do list.

Meanwhile, I'm turning my attention to things that have nothing to do with teaching or grading. Last night, for example, I sorted through files, getting rid of piles of out-of-date papers. Fun? Exciting? Not really. But satisfying? 


This morning, I looked at a basket that had been sitting on my dining room table since I rearranged a counter in my kitchen last week and thought, "Hmm....I think I might like that here instead of there." I tackled a different counter, orphaning a file holder that now needs sorting, too, but ending up with a space that looks much nicer with that basket in a new home.

I love this kind of thing. To me, a perfect day is a day when I can just move from one thing to the next, not worrying about being anywhere or checking off a predetermined list of tasks. Since there's never a shortage of things to do running through my head or jotted down in my planner, those days are often quite productive, even if I accomplish an entirely different set of tasks than the ones set out on my to-do list. 

For me, relaxation sometimes means curling up with a book, watching a favorite show or movie, or indulging in something creative. Often, though, it means digging into something I've been eager to tackle, organizing a space, or making a not-quite-right spot better. 

Now, on the cusp of Christmas (Christmas Season Eve, if you will), these things keep company with Christmas tasks, one project overlapping the next, as chaos recedes and order and beauty reign in their place, at least for a little while. 

It really is the most wonderful time of the year, a time for creating, savoring, and appreciating. To do anything less would be to shortchange not only the season, but ourselves as well. 

With the path cleared, the journey feels joyous.

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