Last year I spent Christmas in Cannon Beach, Oregon. It’s a small town with a one-mile stretch of road and about five people. Total. There’s a really big rock called Haystack Rock right near the shore —— it’s spectacular, really. It’s beautiful and enormous and grand.The year before that, I spent Christmas in Idaho with tons of family and friends and snow. And in 2011, I spent Christmas in Beijing, brunching for hours and drinking champagne at some amazing hotel in the city.
As far as Christmas goes, it tends be different every year. So it’s got me thinking . . . what is essential to Christmas anyway? What does it mean to me? To my new little family of two (I hope, one day, to expand it to a family of three when we get our little puppy…).
I’ve had a new shift in perspective, which is slightly tangential but definitely relevant to my opening thoughts about Christmas. And it’s this: I’m learning to let go of knowing the answer. And being content — actually happy — when a new question is put in front of me. A new question. It’s so simple, but so perfect.
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So I can’t tell you, exactly, what the essence of Christmas for us is quite yet. But I can tell you that we’re asking a new question for the first time. And while I don’t have an answer yet, I have figured out one thing: I’d give up all the presents and stuff for one simple thing: time. Time with good friends and good family — a really good conversation, a long dinner, and hot toddies.
So, after having spent Christmas in a crazy city like Beijing and a quiet little town like Cannon Beach, I’d have to say that a Christmas spent enjoying the intangible gifts of life wins. Every time.
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I know a lot of people talk about less is more. But the past year, we’ve really meant it. And lived it. This will be the second year we go without participating in big family gift exchanges. I’m not committed to it like dogma. Quite the opposite, really. I’m just interested in slowing down. Living with less. Living with the question. For now. And sometimes that means we have to clear out all the busy nights and shopping trips and stress just to be present.
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Happy Holidays | Less Is More
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