The 12 Days of Nothing
Did I mention how December just snuck up on us? Before we knew it, the month was already two weeks in and we hadn’t put up any Christmas decorations. In fact we were late taking down the Thanksgiving decorations, so once we put those away, we were left with this bare-walled house phase. The 12 Days of Nothing. It felt quite nice.
Why didn’t we decorate? Life. I had to travel for work just after Thanksgiving. The kids were back to school, and my wife had begun a holiday gift drive on her Instagram page. We were, as usual, back to our business as usual.
In the few spare moments of our days, either after the kids are down for the night, once they’re off to school, or those rare times when my wife and I sit down and have lunch together, we asked each other, “Are we going to decorate?”
“Well,” we justified to ourselves, “we are going away for the holidays. We won’t miss it.”
The kids took some notice. They asked where their stockings were. And then it began to bother me, more so the fact that we were too busy to even give the house a holiday touch. Then, I started to question whose duty it was to decorate. As the head chef, laundry attendant, and itinerant housekeeper of our home, can’t someone—anyone—help with decorating?
And so I turned to my wife, and began projecting my feelings. Why was she so wrapped up—literally—in making Christmas for other people? Was she going to stop and make Christmas for us?
The short answer was no, and the epiphany struck me like a bolt. She was giving her time to help those in need, to bring light in darkness, and there I was pouting to myself. I made a decision to do something.
One morning, I woke early, set up the trusty artificial tree, strung some garland, and hung the stockings. The kids hung the ornaments.
And there it was. The feeling of Christmas, in the avatar of decorations of course, had arrived. “Christmas-lite” we called it. There was no extra lights or fuzzy woodland creatures. No bells or bows, sleighs and reindeer. Just the essentials. It reminded me that less is more. That to make memories you only need a few moments here and there.