I remember the very first time I ever read Unplug the Christmas Machine and how much it impacted me to realize that I’d let go of far too many of my favorite parts of Christmas in favor of things that really didn’t mean that much to me. For example, I remember having a lightbulb moment when I realized that for me, it just didn’t “feel” like Christmas unless I made it to downtown Seattle when the department store windows were decorated and I could see the Bon Marche’ (now Macy’s) star lit overhead.
The reason this is important to me? Well, when I was little, every year my grandma and I would take a special trip into the city by bus to see Santa at the downtown Frederick & Nelson store, have lunch in one of the tea rooms, and just generally experience Christmas in the city with all the animated window displays so popular in the late 1960’s.
The first year when I didn’t see the Bon star even once during the holidays just never had that Christmas-y feel the entire season. It wasn’t until reading Unplug the Christmas Machine that I was able to identify that missing element. Ever since, I try to make an effort to get to downtown Seattle during the season, even if it’s just to drive through town and see everything briefly as we drive by.
That one simple change helped to add some of those warm Christmas feelings back into my celebrations as an adult.
From the earlier reflective exercises, did you identify anything that you might be able to add back into your activities or plans without too much effort or rearranging of schedules? Give it some thought today. If you kept notes from earlier, this would be a good time to pull them out and reread them, looking for simple things that may be just what you need to touch a deep place in your heart this season.
Also, as you go through the holiday season this year, keep track of any times that you feel particularly joyful or have “warm fuzzies” over something you’ve done, seen, eaten, or heard. After the holidays are over, it’ll be helpful to go back over your list and see what you might want to plan differently next year.
Think of this year as a learning experience in preparation for future years when you can plan earlier about how to apply your holiday-related simplifying changes.