Just like gifts, the holidays come in all shapes, sizes and experiences. A soundtrack to this year’s would include:
Rain pittering-pattering on my mom’s roof
My oldest brother’s snore
Key board clicks and clacks
The slurp of red wine (courtesy of yours truly)
Yep. That’s it. I bet that’s decibel levels quieter than your family’s Christmas.
For many years in my family, it was quite different. Every year on Christmas morning, my grandmother (who was quite the matriarch) required everyone’s presence at her house bright and early. Once arrived, dare not leave. When my parents had my oldest brother, they put their foot down and diplomatically invited my father’s parents over to join the festivities. Although it took some getting used to, eventually Grandma Rose and Grandpa Welford (aren’t those such classic grandparent names? I love them …) realized that being with their children and grandchildren trumped their raucous, gi-normous, all-day throw down.
Now, I gravitate to small, intimate gatherings of several close friends and/or family members (usually it’s a fusion), quiet music (that sometimes gets louder in direct proportion to wine consumed) and one-on-one conversation. Surely this is a product of the majority of festivities in which I took part growing up. It’s not that I’m incapable of appreciating big parties, but it’s just not my comfort zone. The big family gathering will be on Sunday and it’ll be nice to catch up with my multitude of cousins once/twice/three times removed. But for now, I’m enjoying the peace and quiet that only small and intimate gatherings can afford.
So no matter where you find yourself today: at home, abroad, alone, with everyone related to you, just immediate family, friends that are like family, or maybe even strangers, take a moment to stop and observe the sensory experiences surrounding you. Really hear the noises. Taste the foods. Feel the warm hug or the cozy blanket. Smell the food cooking. No matter what your setting, I think it’ll slow you down and help you appreciate your own life’s artsdevivre.