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Savor your own present

By NATHALIE HARDY | Yamhill Valley News-Register 

A fortnight from the time of this printing, we will be turning our calendars to a new year, and with that, focusing on our resolutions for what we hope to do more or less of in 2017. 

But first, between now and then, there are The Holidays. Big ones like Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas. 

Since I write my columns about what I know about, Christmas it is. I celebrate Christmas doubly, both the Christian “reason for the season” stuff and also the commercial and cultural stuff we indulge in during this festive time of year. 

However, “festive” is not the only "f" word that comes to mind this time of year, when people are forced to compromise far more than they want; are stressed with pressure to create a magical experience for children while also donating to All The Causes; and are sick and run down to the point they’re not feeling very merry and bright. 

Whether this particular holiday season finds you relating to Will Ferrell’s character in Elf or perhaps Dr. Seuss’ Grinch, I want to remind you of one thing: We don’t get this time back. So please don’t waste it wishing things were different.

That doesn’t mean you’re not going to miss the people you miss, or suddenly adore the people who cause you the most angst. And, of course, that doesn’t mean there’s any magic way to pause time so you can catch up and get it all together to make things in real life match the picture in your head, or your mother-in-law’s head or on your Pinterest feed. 

No, that’s not what I’m getting at. 

It’s like this: There’s some truth behind the feeling that time moves faster as we get older. At the end of a life, the minutes add up. Since we don’t know when that end comes, it’s incumbent on us to make our moments count. 

If you take the long view, the little annoyances, the big blowouts with family and friends, the stress of trying to do too much in too little time aren’t the things you will savor in life’s rear view mirror. 

What we keep, when everything else falls apart, wears out or changes, are the memories we’ve made, the moments we’ve collected, the scraps that make up the fabric of our lives. 

But back to the present:

Consider pausing for a moment to make sure you’re clear about what matters most to you right now. Ask yourself what you most want to remember from this time in your life and let that answer guide your priorities. Let it guide what you say yes and no to. 

Does your house need to be perfectly decorated? Or do you just want some special things out to make your home feel a little decked out? Here’s an example of what that means to me:

Instead of waiting until everything was all picked up, I did my best with the time I had. Now the decorating begins. 

Ergo, on one side of the house, by the laundry room door, I have a pile of dirty laundry serving as a do-it-yourself draft dodger. But on the other side of the house, near the front door, I have an adorable, decorative draft dodger that looks a lot like a reindeer.

Balance, people. 

If you’re looking to set the scene, to put a little spirit of Christmas into your space, the smallest of touches will work as long as they are significant to you. That will get you there.

There’s a time for a “go big or go home” attitude, but I promise you, this isn’t it.  

What I’m saying is, you don’t have to wait for the new year to be intentional. You can resolve now to have the best season possible under whatever circumstances you find yourself this year.

Enjoy your present. 

Merry Christmas. And Happy Holidays.

 p.s. this column started as a little "note to self" but if you think it might encourage someone else, please share it!

Hardy writes her columns "Raising the Hardy Boys" and "Behind the Picket Fence" in the margins of her life raising two boys who somehow convinced her to get a cat.