Pre-Holiday Links and Resources -Advent 2018 and Christmas

With Thanksgiving this week, Advent is following quickly behind it!

But besides the busy preparation for Christmas, there are a lot of things we can do to really observe the season of Advent! Over the years I have collected links and resources for the holidays that I thought would help me and my family prepare our hearts and spirits to celebrate the birth of Baby Jesus.  I haven't done everything on this list.  Some of it is a wish list, but there was something in every link that I thought was worthwhile.

Perhaps first on the list is actually getting our homes ready for the holidays:
Holiday Grand Plan or join their Yahoo Group E-mail List Declutter and Clean!
Also DeClutter and Organize on Facebook. 

and get your planner ready~  Advent and Christmas Planner from Catholic Icing or Advent Planner from Wildflower and Marbles. 

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The blues...

I have always been one to crash after major events. I can remember always feeling a little let down after Christmas and Easter, and especially my birthday. I remember feeling incredibly sad after attending my first homecoming dance in high school and it was worse after prom and graduation and my wedding. Definitely a pattern that I came to know, understand and expect. I never had the baby blues in that way though (although I think after my more traumatic births I might have had some post-traumatic stress). Maybe the busyness of taking care of a new baby didn't give me enough time to feel let down.

Along with being busy, one of my "cures" for this has been to not expect too much. I don't expect Christmas Day to be magical and perfect. I'm happy to just get through it. Realizing that Christmas is a season and not just one day has also given me a sense of relief in that area - not too much expectation piled on to one day.

But this year there was the added burden of grief - the first Christmas without Mom. And I guess I put unreasonable expectations on that. I thought that this first Christmas would set the tone for years to come and for that reason, THIS year new traditions had to be made and honored to take the place of our Mother and Grandmother who would never be with us gain.

It didn't work out that way. The clan I hoped, expected, wanted to pull together and envelop each other in love and good cheer - didn't. Maybe we're thread worn from the stress of this year without the strength to pull it all together. Or maybe without the presence of Mom to be the strong string binding us together we were more certain to fall apart. Or maybe it will just take time to re-establish itself naturally. Or maybe there really isn't any such thing as a Christmas tradition - only things and activities that we do for so many years that little kids think we have done them forever, but in truth they're just a few years old and unless someone else thinks they are important too they don't last to the next generation. I just don't know yet.

So in addition to the normal Christmas let down, I feel a little blue about all the rest of this too. Adding to that feeling of melancholy, is the work for Mom's estate and dealing with all of her belongings. The estate is almost done. The state of Michigan did not come to arrest me for not getting my paper work in. They did give me a big fee to pay though. I also have to worry about the taxes. But after that, I will be free!! - done with all of this business and paper work. The estate will be settled.

The personal stuff though is harder. We have been renting a storage unit since last April with all of Mom's household things. When we packed the place up, it was with the understanding that Mom was going to get better and when she did, she would need her things unpacked again. The boxes were packed under that premise. But since that didn't happen it seems silly to just pay rent every month to store stuff. All of the big furniture has been moved out - for example, the girls are sleeping on mom's bed and using her bedroom furniture. But a lot of boxes remained. I went out there last week and figured that if I go out their five times and take at least seven or eight boxes each time, I can have that place emptied by the end of the month.

So physically I've been moving boxes with Sam's help, and going through at least one box per night. Last night I found a box with a lot of tea cups and mugs, packed on top of a whole pile of her folded clothes. The sight of the clothing took my breath away. For some bizarre reason, I couldn't unpack the box and I couldn't tell Mr. Pete what to do with the clothes. I certainly didn't want to go through them to throw away the stained things and give away the others. These items were too familiar, too personal and held too many memories. I just told Mr. Pete that I couldn't "do" that box. He understood. The box was not here when I got up this morning. I'm pretty sure he took it someplace to donate on his way to work today.

So that's where I'm at right now - kind of in an in between state. Interestingly I am looking forward to the start of Lent! I definitely am in the right mood and frame of mind for a long season of silence, introspection, sorrow, and repentance.

sad woman picasso

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