Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Topsy Turvy Holidays

I feel like I am suffering from holiday jet lag.

My holiday season began in late July or early August, when I began making work to send out to galleries, or for shows for the holiday season. It became the most intense through October and up until just before Thanksgiving, as I pushed to get as much work out the door as I possibly could.

When I shipped off the last package, I felt a sense of completion. A sigh of relief that I was largely done for this year with my holiday orders. I was able to have a bit of breathing space, even as a few other shipments went out, and one last show was done. I had room to experiment in the studio, and start thinking about where I was going in the next year, and what changes I might want to be making.

This weekend I was going through pictures on my computer looking for a specific photo, and I ran across a picture from a few years ago of my daughters decorating the Christmas tree. It hit me across the forehead with a smack! Christmas! It is coming. Not just in the stores. But here. I had to do something about our Christmas. I was done with the business of Christmas, but now I needed to start planning for and acting on a holiday that was right around the corner. Our tree had to go up. I had to seriously do some shopping, and gift making. Casual conversations with my husband about what to get for someone, or what he could bring to the office party had to come into focus and be acted upon.

Maybe this creates more short term stress for me, but I think I needed that breathing space of not jumping right into the holiday. I needed to have the closure from the business side of the season before I made the shift to the world around me. I see lights going up as I drive around town. Wreathes. Christmas cards have arrived. I feel completely out of sync with what is going on. But it is time for me to jump onto that moving sidewalk and get engaged in this season.

I must admit I have enjoyed the space it has given me...being out of sync. I have had the frenzy and stress already making and shipping my work. I am not anxious to feel that again. Maybe this topsy turvy holiday is a good thing. It helps to stay out of the fray of excess that can be overwhelming. Whether I am fully decorated or not, the holidays will come. And in the end, I will have gifts to give. But what I have enjoyed the most in the last few weeks is taking a bit more time to relax, and spend time with my family. If I jumped into the holiday craziness right away, I might have missed that.

Artists are already accused of marching to a different drummer. I guess if we have most of our sales at this time of year, we also need to march to a different rhythm. I have heard of artists who celebrate Christmas with their families in July, so they can enjoy it more. I don't think I want to be that far out of sync. But I have recognized that I need a pause.

Are you able to listen to your need for breathing space? To take care of your need to regroup after a prolonged push? Or are you able to jump right in? Perhaps energized by the holiday activity? Or do you just forego all this holiday madness?

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