Merry Everything and Happy Always- 2020

Merry Everything and Happy Always- 2020

Happy holidays from Sweetly Lived Design to you! I can’t believe Christmas day is almost here again. This year sure felt like it was a million years long but on the other hand, wasn’t it March like yesterday? 🤷🏻‍♀️ This time of the year is definitely my husbands favorite! We had the decorations up the day after Thanksgiving. Whenever we’re in the car, our favorite Christmas songs are playing in the background. We’ve watched the new Grinch movie and we plan to watch the Jim Carey version this weekend while we wrap gifts. We baked about 200 cookies to deliver to various friends and family and we also sent out our annual Christmas card, personally one of my favorite things to do during the holidays.

This is definitely the season of family, friends and wonderful times spent together. However like most things this year, COVID has managed to last through Christmas so our plans look different than normal, but then again what is normal anymore?

In past years, we’ve had a cookie decorating party with our friends a week or so before Christmas. It has always been a nice time for us all to get together and we have hosted for about 3 years now. Sadly, we just couldn’t make that happen this year. I was talking to Logan about how we should do a virtual hang out for Christmas with friends and instead, Logan’s mom thought of walking Clear Creek and seeing the lights. I wish I could take full credit for that idea because it was the perfect idea. I put out an invitation on Facebook and many of our friends said they’d be there! So for Christmas this year, instead of our usual cookie decorating, we are all going to mask up, bundle up and spend the evening walking Downtown Golden together. It will still a memorable night and we all will still hang out and enjoy our time together. Not the normal, but will be a nice compromise and in the end. We will still get what we really want. Time spent with people we love.

As for our family time and actual Christmas plans, in the past we’ve split Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my family and my husband’s. It was always a little hectic and by the end of Christmas Day Logan and I were both so exhausted it would take us a couple days to recover. But we always said,we want to prioritize family always, it’s the fair thing to do and there really is no excuse since our families live 15 minutes apart. This year will be different. Logan’s sister and her family are planning to drive here from MN. We’re very excited because we haven’t seen them since July. Ava (our youngest niece) is 6 months old we didn’t want to risk cross contamination of germs from one household to another (I’m honestly still shocked to have to think this way… weird times we live in). So our new plan is to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my husband’s family. Enjoy our time with people we haven’t seen in a while and create new memories with the little ones. Then, we’ll bring in the New Year (and Christmas again) with my family the week after. I’m actually excited to see how this new plan works out. Not only does that mean Logan and I won’t spend time driving back and forth or watching the clock to make sure we make it to another house on time. This new plan also means we can spend quality time with both families- not frantically getting from one place to another. We can bring in the New Year with family, people we love and cherish and still make it fair and safe for everyone. So is any of this normal? Not entirely. Logan and I are both sad to not see my family during Christmas and we’re definitely aware of risks involved with this plan. We plan to wear masks and we’re hoping Colorado weather is kind to us so we can spend the days outside. Definitely not the norm, but also it all will be ok. And maybe from this new way of doing the holidays, we’ll all realize there are other ways of celebrating together that is easier and less stressful for everyone involved.

Leading up to Christmas, Logan had a wonderful idea to be the Holiday Cheermeisters! That entailed us spending 5 hours on a Saturday baking about 200 cookies. That Saturday afternoon, Sunday (all day) and Tuesday evening we spent in the car driving all over delivering cookies to our friends and family. It was exhausting and we kept thinking that delivering cookies on a platter to a house for a Christmas party is absolutely easier and quite frankly, the normal way we would deliver cookies during the holidays. But again, normals shift and change all the time and cookie delivery isn’t immune to those changes either. Even though it was a long day, we had to charge the car 3 different times and we were both tired of driving, it was a wonderful way to spend the weekend. We saw people we hadn’t seen in a while, we got out of the house and we were doing something sweet for other people.

On Tuesday when we were driving to deliver cookies to my Uncle and his Fiancé, I was turning off the highway onto Kipling and I saw a homeless man on the side of the road. He was bundled in a black coat that was thin and looked to have holes in it. He had a mask on and the hood of his coat was loosely covering his head. His eyes were tired his body was hunched over, his arms holding his knees and his white, cold hands were holding a sign, a typical sign you’d see a homeless person holding- “please, anything helps.” His body was obviously shaking and shivering in the cold. I looked at the thermostats and it read 30 degrees. I always hand out a Cliff bar and water to homeless people if I’m driving and stopped at a light. I want to give them their basic needs but only if it’s safe for the both of us. Traffic moves fast and I would hate for someone to get hit desperately running to get a water bottle. This man, I saw for a fleeting second then rounded the corner because the light was green, I had no time to stop and offer anything. I immediately cried as we passed. Logan just patted my leg and said “I know honey.” That one fleeting instant made me think about our cookie delivery and I thought if it brought that much happiness to our friends and family, I wonder how much happiness it could bring strangers. Next year, I fully plan to bring cookies to family Christmas parties and have cookie decorating parties with my friends. I plan on having loads of people around and celebrating together. But I also plan to take cookies and maybe some necessities like gloves and hats to homeless shelters. Maybe even through the year, not just during Christmas time. I plan on donating food and clothes to shelters that serve people that have nothing. That can be our new normal and that is a good new normal.

I guess what I’m trying to say is of course this year wasn’t normal. All of our normal activities and traditions have been bulldozed and has left us trying to pick up pieces to make the situation feel normal. But why are we trying so hard to make everything normal? Am I ready to hug family and have people in my houses again and meet up for dinner with my girlfriends at a restaurant without the fear of getting sick? ABSOLUTELY!!! But I’ve come to realize that we are very resilient and we’ve created wonderful new normals this holiday season without even knowing we did. We will still see friends, family and we will still have traditions like gifts and cookies. It just looks different than years past and I keep feeling that it’s more and more ok. In the end, what matters is that you made time for the people you love and gave to others who don’t have anything. We can all be Holiday Cheermeisters by doing the best with what we have, embracing the new normal and still keeping what is truly important at the center of our focus- love, relationships and of course cookies! 🍪

Happy Holidays to all of you! I hope you have a wonderful season and remember to live sweetly.

Kayla

Published by Kayla Gee

I am a teacher turned creative professional. I run an Etsy shop creating hand lettered and hand drawn cards, signs and other paper items. I also create custom hand made hand lettered wedding stationery and decor. You can find all of the links to get in touch with me on my website home page. I am a cat momma and I love to be outside. Can’t wait to connect with you!

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