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Christmas Traditions & The Year to Come

December 10, 2020

Christmas traditions make me think both “wow, time goes by so fast” and “I can’t believe how much has changed in a year”!

One of our favorite Christmas traditions is Christmas Tree shopping the weekend of (or the weekend after, this year) Thanksgiving.

Then, we come home, put on a Christmas movie while we wait for the branches to fall… and put on movie #2 or a bangin’ Michael Blubé Christmas playlist while decorating.

Our movies of choice? Home Alone, Elf and/or The Grinch.

This year, “decorating” also included playing a whole lotta puppy defense. We seriously almost considered buying a tree with no branches on the bottom (like this one) since we knew Blue would go CRAZY with – what he would consider – a giant stick in his house.

Almost one full week after decorating, I’m happy to report that he has only gone for the ornaments (or, in his eyes, hanging toys up for grabs) a couple of times. But, presents under the tree will DEFINITELY a no-go this year. That is one of the biggest Christmas traditions I’ll miss! Oh well! He’s worth it;)

Annual Christmas traditions (or any kind of tradition, really) make me think both “wow, time goes by so fast” and “I can’t believe how much has changed in a year” at the same time.

2019: Engaged, trudging through the snow with Lincoln, our two-year-old pup we wish we knew to love and cuddle a bit extra before we had to say goodbye. We had no idea that 2020 would take him from us and bring a pandemic that changed the landscape of how we live our lives.

2020: Sam and I are married and we spent the day (unsuccessfully) trying to keep Blue out of the mud. He has nestled his way into our hearts and has been such a light this year! We’re mid-pandemic and heading into a holiday season none of us saw coming.

I find that these kinds of traditions remind me to never take anything for granted and to stay present right now because we never know how much things can and will change.

They also bring so much hope. Because, if that much can change in one year, where will we be in 365 more days?

I don’t know about you but I’m gearing up for a big reality check on January 1st. So many of us have been living the “well, 2020 sucked, I can’t wait for 2021” story. But, here is the thing… we’re less than 3 weeks out from 2021 and not much is going to change with the dawn of a new year.

Do NOT get me wrong, I am a big believer in silver linings, positive thoughts, and harnessing the magic that a brand new year and blank slate can bring.

AND, that means that I’m going into it with a realistic vision that a shift in that one little number, 2020 to 2021, will not solve all of the hurt, sadness, fear, and stress present for so much of us right now.

If anything, expecting it to do so will lead to even more of those feelings come January 1st when we wake up and realize that COVID is still real and the lives we’ve been living, as a result, are still waiting for us when we hop out of bed.

So, when I catch myself thinking “I can’t wait for the year to be over”, I think about traditions and how much can change in a year. I remind myself to be where my feet are.

Staying present and grateful in the moment, with whatever is coming our way is the only way we’ll get through this instead of waiting for things to “go back to normal” and forgetting that we still have lives to live right now.

Then, we can look back in a year as 2021 changes to 2022 and say “look how far we’ve come and how much we’ve learned.”

What are you looking forward to in the next 3 weeks? How can you remind yourself to be where your feet are?


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Hi, I'm Ali! Photographer, dog mom, daily walker, reader, and wife to a busy maker. I'm the voice you hear and read at Life Outside the Shop.

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