I have a confession to make.
As much as I love the build up to Christmas, the planning and the festivity and the lights. The baking and the wrapping and the excuse to talk of things like magic and elves for weeks. As much as all of those things make me smile till it hurts, I think I love this week more.
The last week of the year. This week between the holidays (isn’t it so perfect that the two holidays are exactly a week apart? That used to fascinate the order-lovin side of me as a kid).
For me this week has generally been one of rest. Calming down from the holiday craziness, no more gifts left to buy, no more secrets left to plan, no more preparations left to make. And easing out of the year. Slowing down and allowing the year to come to a graceful end rather than a skidding stop.
I’m lucky to work at a place that closes for this week. And so I make no grand commitments. No big projects. No looming deadlines. No parties or functions or anything big.
During this week, more than any other, I find it so easy to just be with my family. To sit and play with my kids. To focus on just being mom and wife and friend and just me and letting the rest slide, just for a bit. The new year always brings aspirations and reaching and stretching and working hard at the things that are important. And I have the energy for all of that because of this week.
Which is not to say that I do nothing this week. There are still friends and family to see and outings to take. Sometimes there are still parties to attend and, because of how we celebrate our Christmases now, sometimes there are still gifts to buy.
But that’s also what I love about this week. Seeing friends and family and packing us all into the car and heading out. The pressure of Christmas is gone but the work of the new year and the darkest days of winter are not quite here. This week is the pillow that cushions our leap out of the holiday season and allows us to pause for just a bit to catch our breath.
I love this week because I love to stand back and take stock of things. Where are we and where are we going. How are we feeling and how are we doing. And, beyond all that, look at how we are blessed. This year was a good one but also not so good. And next year will be the same. Good and not so good. But we’ll always try to make it great. This week, the good is all I see.
This week I get more emotional and more sentimental and more inwardly focused. And that almost sounds scary as I read it back to myself because I am almost never unemotional or unsentimental or incredibly outwardly focused. But this week, I hope, I put all that emotion and sentiment and introspection to good use.
I may count the days until Christmas with my girl. But really, I’m usually looking just a bit further ahead, my eyes locked on this week.
What is this week for you?