I tend to enjoy the time before Christmas more than the time afterwards. I always feel a bit sad when the presents are all open because the tree looks so empty with nothing underneath it. This year I’m making an effort to focus on enjoying the time between Christmas and Epiphany for what it is – an extension of a special time of year. I’m not sure when we’ll take the tree and decorations down. We almost always have them up until New Year’s Eve or Day. It depends on the year. (People were actually getting into heated discussions on Facebook about when you should take down your tree. Seriously.)
We had a truly lovely Christmas season and that is no small thing. We’ve had our fair share of Christmas drama over the years due to the choices of others and when Caroline was younger holiday overwhelm was a very real thing we had to deal with. So it is all the more meaningful to have a Christmas that is just thoroughly enjoyable. We had lovely snow for the days leading up to Christmas including seven inches on Christmas Day itself. We drove around looking at lights one evening. We went to a live nativity. We have a Christmas Day “tradition” that I’m not going to share publicly, but it spontaneously started last year and now it’s become our “thing” which is fun.
Caroline was thrilled with her gifts and it’s a great feeling when your child is truly happy with her gifts and appreciative of them. She was also surprised by two of them since they were on the more expensive side (for us, at least) and we told her not to expect too much. She really wanted the My Little Pony Canterlot and Sequestria Castle and so when the price dropped on Amazon I ordered it since we won’t be buying toys much longer. She’s currently eleven, but loves all things My Little Pony and Littlest Pet Shop right now. It goes with that creative, imaginative bent.
Her number one gift request was a telescope, something we’ve talked about buying off and on as a family for a few years. We didn’t want to buy a cheap one that would be used a few times and then not good for much because it was too basic. David did a lot of research and, in the end, we purchased one as a joint gift with my parents. I had the telescope, extra lens, and moon filter shipped to my parents’ home so they could see her open it as well. She was not expecting it at all and was truly delighted and surprised when she opened it. David and Caroline have been reading through the information and getting it ready to use. It’s been too cloudy and too cold here to use it outside yet. But I’m sure it will be a well-loved and used gift in the years ahead. We all enjoy looking at the stars so this is a good investment in her learning. Once they try it out, I’ll probably write a review post about it.
I received two gifts of things I’ve wanted for some time, but couldn’t justify buying. David and Caroline gave me a Michigan State purse from Vera Bradley. For some reason, MSU isn’t on the drop-down menu at the link, but it is dark green and white like this one, but with a white Spartan head on it. My parents bought me the Deluxe Complete Downton Abbey Set on DVD. The picture doesn’t do it justice. It’s beautifully designed set. I’m looking forward to watching it. (Eventually Amazon is going to take Downton Abbey off Prime and I need a way to watch it! LOL!)
If there was a “down” part of Christmas, it was the food. The months of November and December are emotionally challenging for me since my EoE diagnosis. Food is such a big part of Thanksgiving and Christmas and to not be able to participate in any way is hard. I have to focus on not being depressed about it and making the best of a crummy situation. We visited my parents for a few days for Christmas and my mom made so many of my favorite foods. I was happy for David and Caroline to enjoy such good meals, but it’s also hard to be left out.
Part of the problem is I don’t make it a priority to try and add new foods to what I can eat. There are two reasons for this. One, it’s stressful. My doctor mentioned that many of his patients find it very stressful to try new foods when you don’t know how you are going to react and food can cause such problems for you. The other reason is there always seems to be something more important or pressing to do. Even though it’s my health, it’s easy to push it down the list of things to do. It’s easier to just keep eating the same things that I know work. It’s expensive to cook with less common ingredients and everything is an experiment when you are learning to cook with such limited ingredients. I do belong to a few Facebook groups that share safe recipes, but even those often contain things I can’t eat.
However, I finally admitted to myself that if my child or husband had EoE there is NO WAY I would make them eat the way they do. I would constantly be looking out recipes and foods for them to try so they would have some variety. To be honest, I DO buy foods that I can try but then they sit on the shelf or in the fridge because stress (see reason number one in previous paragraph). So all that to say, I know I need to take better care of myself and prioritize my eating somehow.
Related to that… I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions for the simple reason that there is no way I can plan out twelve months in advance or even imagine what will be important to me in August or November. But I had heard a lot of good things about the book The 12 Week Year and it made a lot of sense when I started reading it. The premise is to intensely focus on a few goals for twelve weeks. Everything you do filters through that goal. I’ve believed for a long time that it is most effective to work on projects AAA BBB CCC DDD so that you finish one thing before moving on rather rather than ADCBAADDBCA. Time is multiplied when you are focused. The 12 Week Year takes that and puts it into a plan. I’ve already set my twelve week goals for my work/business/blogging and need to write up the steps. I have them in my mind and jotted down. I only need a formal written plan or, in my case, a checklist. I work best with a daily checklist. I also need to develop a twelve week plan for my eating. I haven’t done that yet, but hope to this weekend.
More Christmas afterglow chit chat to come!