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Every year there are families who inevitably put up their Christmas decorations the day after Halloween. Every neighborhood has at least one family like this — you might even be that family! While I like to do some moderate decorating around my house for the holidays, I always wait until at least after Thanksgiving. So I’ll admit that I can’t help but roll my eyes a bit at those houses that are completely decorated weeks before Thanksgiving. But this year I found myself feeling a little differently. When I saw the first Christmas decorations go up early last month, they actually made me smile when they would normally make me scoff. And I can’t help but think that must be because of the year we’ve all had. During a time when we’re constantly surrounded by bad news and hardship, seeking joy in life’s little moments and activities becomes so critical. I realized that decorating for the holidays is one of those things that many people reap joy from. Who am I to turn my nose up at that? The holiday season has admittedly never been a big celebration for my husband and me — with family that lives so far away, we generally do quiet festivities with ourselves or a few friends. Often, we travel somewhere to get away. This year we aren’t traveling, and we won’t be able to gather with friends, so it will be a quiet evening much as it has been in the past. But what’s going to make this year different is the effort I’m going to make to reap joy from the little things in my life. I do a lot of reading, but it’s almost exclusively business related. I reserve fiction reading for vacations, but because those haven’t been happening, I haven’t read any novels in a long time. So I’m going to make a point to change that this season. I’m finding time to read novels and get wrapped up in a story. It’s a small act, but I know it will make me happy. EMBRACING THE LITTLE THINGS Happiness Lies in What We Have, Not What We Want
I also love cooking, but with the craziness of the past year, I haven’t had time to experiment with new recipes. So this month, I’m finally going to try tackling something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time: my husband’s grandmother’s recipes. Her handwritten recipes are about 100 years old, and the ingredients and instructions are a big indicator of their age. Who even knows what a yeast cake is these days? It’s going to be a challenge, but again, something I’m really looking forward to. We have to find ways to embrace the things in our life that make us happy. This is always important, but especially now, it’s necessary. There’s been a wonderful quote making its way around the internet about just that. It goes “2020 was not the year of getting everything you want, but the year of being thankful for everything you have.” I think there’s no better way to summarize it. So if you were one of those people who put up their holiday decorations early this year, I’m so glad you found that moment of joy. And if you want to leave your decorations up until February, then I say embrace it if it makes you happy. I even put up my own decorations a little early this year. We adorned our tree with dozens of little knickknacks we’ve collected during our years of traveling, and as we hung each souvenir, it brought back memories that made us happy. It’s the little moments like those that can make life wonderful. So hold onto them this holiday season and in the new year.
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