It is official it is almost next year.
On a most perfect New England fall day as my car’s heated seats warmed my soul, I slowed down at a sharp bend in the road. At that moment, bright orange leaves, framed in gold clouds took my breath away. I was finally enjoying my life. A perfect day for a hot chai latte, to sip and ponder and be grateful for what I have.
During the pandemic, I started making chai lattes at home and that meant keeping stock of my favorite food, whipped cream. Having to crack into a new bottle, I checked my whipped cream supply. Examining each bottle for its expiration date, to make sure I was using the one set to expire first.
And there I found a truth I wasn’t ready for. All three cans expired in 2023. I don’t know what disturbed me more, that my stock was depleted or that I had to face that it is almost next year!
I should have seen the signs. At my local dollar store, the sales cycle has accelerated to the point that there are always at least two holidays with items for sale.
In August, it was Back to School and Halloween as if they were one holiday. No waiting time, no seasons, and then a quick change over to Halloween and Thanksgiving. And now in mid-October the trifecta is complete: decorations, keepsakes, hostess items for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. No doubt, New Year’s cannot be far behind.
It seems that the days and weeks and seasons are like a roll of toilet paper, they go faster at the end. And me, going a little slower somedays. I offer a few pre-season tips on how to make landing in the new year just a bit softer.
I find that if I choose decorations that can be relevant and have meaning for more than one holiday, it’s so much less work. I put them up in late August and they carry me through to December.
I always include two or three items, very holiday-centric pieces that have been around for years. These are the special things that my daughter expects to see and will be pasted down through the generations.
I have to remember that downsizing even the decorations she loves, is a gift to her. I will leave a few treasured items, not boxes and boxes she will inherit and have to sift through. Curating my items now leaves room for her to start new traditions with her partner and children.
So what do I choose that works in many seasons:
Anything that says Grateful, Blessed, Family First, and Enjoy, transcends seasons and religion.
I turn some specific holiday items into everyday decorating. For example, My Broom Parking Sign, originally a Halloween favorite, is really appropriate and so cute when hung in my broom closet or the pantry all year round.
My standby kitchen towels read: The Witch is in! The witch is a symbol of magical powers and this works for all seasons. I mean, how does my family think, at 61 years old, I can make dinner for 14 and look effortless? That’s some big momma magic.
And at Christmas and Hanukah, how do I find perfect gifts for each person, wrapped with rich ribbon and paper? It doesn’t happen by elves. It needs a Witch’s brew to make it all happen.
Although we have gotten much smarter about the demands we put on ourselves, there still is the mundane administrative side of life. Get that passport renewed, refresh your insurance, schedule those doctor’s appointments. Make a call a day, and you will have it all set up in no time.
Choose a bucket list item and start cracking on it now. Call the travel agent, get a new design for your closet or sign up for that poetry class you have been dragging your feet on. Whatever it is, start moving towards it, and when the new year rolls around, you will be off to a great start.
I saw a meme on social media last week that said, “We spend 2/3 of our life acquiring stuff and the last 1/3 giving it away.” I can tell you from personal experience pain doesn’t come from having all that stuff. Pain comes from unfinished business. And a lot of that stuff is unfinished business.
Start with one drawer. One shelf. One bin. And next time you are feeling in the doldrums, or just a tad bit bored, do another. It goes quicker than you think and even cleaning out one drawer to me is major accomplishment.
Choose a few items to do now to springboard you into the New Year to start on your strongest foundation. Indulge in your favorite hot beverage and know that while the whipped cream expiration date is just around the corner, you are ready.
Have you noticed that the new year is around the corner? What made you notice this fact? How do you feel about it? How far along are you on your resolutions list?