1. a delay or cessation for a time, especially of anything distressing or trying; an interval of relief: to toil without respite.
2. temporary suspension of the execution of a person condemned to death; reprieve.
This is what spouse and I are doing this year about the holidays. We are not being grinches or grouchers, but we are taking a sabbatical and enjoying a respite; stepping back and "not doing" rather than doing.
I was curious to see how it would feel to "not do" during this time of the year and it feels a bit "out-of-step" certainly but, more to the point, it is a relief to be able to simply be in the relative here and now of the "everyday" watching the world swirl about and hurry on around me.
I admit that I have become very disenchanted with the hyper- commercialism of the holidays, but it feels like more than that. As I get older I do tend to think more about memorable holidays past and, as could be expected, many of my fondest memories are from when I was a youngster- or at least young adult. Christmas really is for kids I thinks. You make memories that will last a lifetime during the holidays when you have children, but I seem to know many adults who would really rather "not" do the do, create the fete, schlep to the malls or otherwise wear their "Santa hat" in public. Most of us still do it anyway because it has become 'expected' if a little hackneyed.
One friend and his family have escaped to a once in a lifetime dream vacation to the Land Down Under...a great way for the family to enjoy their holidays as a family experience. What memories these will be!
Most of my friends and I have also agreed to forego the holiday madness. I prefer to be sending New Years cards this year and birthdays -or perhaps the Epiphany- will be celebrated with gifts instead. It wasn't until 1752 that New Year's was celebrated on January 1st rather than in March and "holiday gifts" used be exchanged for New Years's rather than in December. It wasn't until 1870 (wow!) that we began to celebrate Christmas on December 25th. In actuality the history of the holidays is far more interesting than simply as a religious reminder for a variety of belief systems. History.com has a great little blurb about it all here.
I am enjoying the freedom to jus sew, knit and play as usual without the expectation of so much wrapping (we still have small gifts for three people that need to get wrapped), card writing, and exercising the plastic. My New Years cards are waiting for me on the table...the envelopes are calmly being written out.
So, until we celebrate the beginning of another wonderful year I am taking my cue from my current favorite feline...taking a wee respite in the middle of the maelstrom!
Tilly and I will be celebrating the Winter Solstice together. Welcoming the gradual return of light to the world.