The peace of lowered expectations

We are in a different kind of December. We can’t fill up our calendars with festive parties every weekend.

It’s strange, but you have to admit, you’re feeling more rested, and you have more time to do everything you want to do.

Maybe you won’t be making the drive to a family Christmas gathering. Maybe it will be the first time you miss it.

It’s sad, but you have to admit, it will save you a lot of stress. Christmas will be more peaceful.

The cookie exchange, the group of friends that gets together every year, the Santa pub crawl will all have to wait.

Those are tough sacrifices, but you have to admit, it will be nice to not have to bake so much, and it will be easier to stick to a healthful diet.

We are forced to let go of events, rituals, traditions. Some of them we happily set free; others we will miss terribly.

No matter what, there is breathing room in those lowered expectations.


Advent wreath with Hope and Peace candles lit

15 thoughts on “The peace of lowered expectations

  1. marianbeaman

    In other years I remember feeling exhausted by mid-December with cookie baking, party attending, and church socializing. The baking will stay but the other activities will drop away, a good thing. I like how you phrase it as “the peace of lowered expectations,” a perfect description for these odd times, Arlene. πŸ™‚

  2. kyoungtravels

    Hi Arlene You’ve hit the nail on the head. The peace of lowered expectations. Bill and I were talking about what to have for Christmas dinner since it will be just the two of us. We’re going to make just the dishes that WE like the most, not all those that everyone expects. We had to mail all our gifts, so those were limited to what were light and could fit into a mailable box. Or, what could be ordered online and delivered straight to others’ homes. Overall, I think we’ve spent less, even with mailing costs included. It’s certainly a simpler Christmas so far. I love your blogposts. Short and sweet. I need to learn how to shorten mine! Kathryn

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      Oh no! Your blog posts are perfect. Mine have a different kind of purpose. Yes, I have been enjoying this Christmas season more than I have in years. It’s a perfect scenario for introverts like me. My biggest challenge (and I’m not complaining) is how to make a dinner special when the dinner will be with the very same people who have been eating together every day, for months on end. I’m tasking my young adult children with coming up with ideas.

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      You bet. Breathing room in nature is even better. Your posts have been inspiring me to get out and walk and pay attention to what is around me. That is a wonderful thing to do at this time of year.

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      I’ll be baking cookies tomorrow morning too. This year I find that I’m going into it with a much better attitude though.. I know I don’t HAVE to bake the cookies if I don’t want to, so I am CHOOSING to bake the cookies. I feel lighter somehow.

      1. roughwighting

        Oh dear. Shortbread is my favorite! I follow my mom’s recipe – softly baked shortbread on the bottom, spread melted chocolate on top, sprinkle some nuts if desired, and let stand til chocolate is cooled. But, who can wait for the chocolate to cool??? πŸ™‚

  3. earthwalking13

    This holiday season does seem “off.” My family group has diminished over the years, and COVID has certainly taken it’s toll. In some ways it is a relief with lowered expectations, but there is a lot of palpable anxiety in the States right now because of the President’s juvenile reaction to losing the election, and as time wears on, day-by-day, he continues to try to dismantle democracy. All the while, people around us are dying because the moron called the virus a hoax and no real action was taken until it was too late. It’s a scary time here, but I’d love to be smelling shortbread baking in the oven. Maybe that’s the fix I need right now πŸ™‚

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      I’d like to say that shortbread can heal all – including the pain caused by poor political choices – but sadly that is not quite true. It’s a start though. You are right when you say that the holiday seems seems a bit “off.” In other ways, to me it feels exactly right on. I’m going with the flow . . .


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