‘Tis the season of joy and complete chaos. There are a thousand extra things to do in December and the end result can bring us to the brink of lunacy emotionally, financially, spiritually, mentally, and physically. I’m great at running myself into the ground in December. We all face holiday stress from the expectation of how to handle the holidays. We must decide who will host, who to include, what food to serve, appropriate gifts to give, events to attend, traditions to be upheld, new traditions to start, etc. Did I mention someone might expect an extended family photo shoot? It’s me. I need twenty-five people to smile at the same time. Outfits must be planned. Children must be wrangled. We need to do all the shopping. Shopping starts in October and doesn’t end until January. January is when returning begins. All of this to prevent disappointing the people we love. It’s exhausting.
While it’s normal this time of year to hear “Happy Holidays”, more common this year is the dreaded “supply chain issues”. A season often associated with abundance seems marked by a sense of scarcity and long wait times for delivery of anything and everything. I could not be more grateful. Supply chain issues are my new holiday best friend. Under such unusual circumstances, I plan to act in an unusual way and lower my own insane standards a bit. Perhaps the season will be more enjoyable without the complete frenzy since we will not even have the option to hunt down the perfect this and the perfect that. Life is ironically simpler if everything on earth is not readily available.
Togetherness was the hard-to-find item of 2020. We had access to things but not to all our people. Many of us are finally able to see our cherished family and friends. Stores are open. Restaurants are back. We have an opportunity to shop local at our brick and mortars. No need to have everything shipped from 1,500 miles away. Maybe we will purchase one special thing instead of five. We can choose from what is available instead of buying full lists of gift ideas. With less of the stuff, we have more time. We can have a long holiday lunch in a favorite place with a friend instead of exchanging gifts. We can sip cocoa in front of a roaring fire instead of fighting long lines at a big box store. We can go ice skating on one of our many lakes with the time we will save not wrapping things. We can stay at a hotel or B & B for a weekend and relish the relaxation. We can buy tickets now for something in the spring. We can embrace a simpler December at a calmer pace.
Years ago, I read an article about how joy from material things is quite brief whereas joy from experiences endures. The article suggests experiences become part of a person in a way a material object never could. I’m keeping this in sharp focus as I head into December.
So "Happy Supply Chain Holidays!" We may be denied the exact item in the exact color we thought we wanted, yet we have so many experiences available to us compared to a year ago. We will gather with friends and family, and celebrate being together which we all know now is not a given. It’s on every wish list. It’s perfect for all ages. It’s the gift we will remember forever. And better yet, it is free for the taking all year.