Procrastinating during the holidays is Sometimes a Good Idea

Procrastinating during the holidays can help the widow deal with grief and loss on her own time.

Procrastinating at Christmas after loss

After Thanksgiving it’s easy to get caught up in the rush and frenzy of Christmas. Keeping busy may be helpful, or maybe you just don’t feel the holiday spirit after the loss of a loved one.  It’s Ok to not do anything somedays.  Other times, you may find yourself lost in a copy of the book that resembles, “If you give a mouse a cookie” by Laura Numeroff and spend the day chasing squirrels.  That is OK too.  Widows get a pass on living up to the expectations we women have burdened ourselves with.  It’s been six years for me now, but I enjoyed reading my post about the second year when I wanted to get back into the swing of the holiday season, but needed a little help.

Decorating for Christmas was definitely on my to do list, I just kept putting it on the bottom.  The idea of digging out all my favorite memories that I had collected over the years for the Christmas tree, kept me frozen with apprehension.

My first year as a widow I avoided the Holidays and traveled. I ran away and didn’t participate in many of my favorite traditions. The cruise during Christmas week to the Caribbean with my 2 sons was perfect for the first year. I never put out any decorations and I was fine with that. A Different Christmas is OK, especially after the loss of a loved one.

The decision was made to decorate on this year 2 and I was planning to do it.  I was going to do it… after I made myself some breakfast.

While I was making home fries, an omelet and coffee, I searched for a piece of paper so I could make a to do list.  After brunch, my puppy started barking.  I was sure he needed a walk so off we went.

When I got back from the walk I noticed that my yard needed a good clean up.

I took out the power tools – a noisy leaf blower.  I started blowing leaves all over the back yard. Once the deck was cleared and the rest pushed to the sides of the yard I thought I would start decorating inside.

But then I noticed the bird feeder was empty.  I have a thing about blue jays and cardinals.  I feel like  my husband and my dad send them to me to comfort me.  It was time to get some bird food.  That was really important.  So I found the car keys and put on a hat.  Off to  do some shopping.

At the garden store, I picked up 20 pounds of bird seed, 75 feet of white pine roping and a 15 inch fake Christmas tree.  I wasn’t ready to pull out all the boxes of ornaments but felt that the small tree with some pretty new decorations would spruce up the house.

Once the bird feeder was filled and hanging, I got back to blowing the back yard.  That’s when my friend came over with a hose.  I needed it for the boat.  She suggested we make a bonfire in the back yard.  So we did.  We threw in some logs and sticks.  It was more fun than bagging leaves.  We didn’t burn the leaves because that is illegal in New York.

After she left, my brother in law came over.  He changed some shower heads in the house that were broken.  We discussed the menu for Christmas dinner. He and my husband always made the roast and did a great job. We are both sorely mourning the loss of Mike and he keeps in contact with my boys and me. This year he plans to have my sons help him make dinner.  Good luck with that.

We made plans to get together with family before Christmas as well. That was a good distraction.

Finally, I brought the white pine roping into the house, cleared off the mantle and put the greens on top.  I carried up a few boxes of ornaments and decorations.  The TV  played  country music and I poured myself a glass of wine.  The first decoration to go up was a beautiful sign a friend had given me that is part of our home now.  It says:

Because someone we love is in Heaven, a little bit of Heaven is in our home.

Procrastinating at Christmas after loss
Procrastinating at Christmas after loss

Just as the nativity set was beginning to sort itself out, the doorbell range. Help arrived in the form of friendly neighborhood elves. My friends stopped by with wine and young daughters who love to decorate!  I ordered a pizza and took out the paper plates with snowmen on them we used last week during the Christmas party at school.  Everyone found a spot to enhance with glass bulbs, lights and bows.  Some things look like they always did, but a new perspective on the same old stuff was really fun for me to see come together.

Laughter and smiles ensued as everyone rummaged through my collections of stored Christmas memories.  I did not get a big tree, so I couldn’t put all those wedding, baby, travel and homemade ornaments up. The nutcrackers came to life as they stood stoicly above the room.

The stockings stayed in the box.  I’d rather not have any than to have one missing.

Procrastinating at Christmas after loss
Procrastinating at Christmas after loss
Procrastinating at Christmas after loss
Procrastinating at Christmas after loss

Procrastinating at Christmas after loss

I was glad I had procrastinated. The day unfolded the way it was supposed to.  Traditions are wonderful but making new memories is important as well.

Waking up this morning, the house was festive and those girls even cleaned up!  Lights and garland  illuminate my home.  Waves of sadness and stress still hit me as I realize the love of my life is no longer here.  I do feel his presence at times and know he looks over us but I still miss him.  Having friends and family over is the best part of the holiday season and I am so blessed that I have both.

To read more on how I have dealt with the holidays click here: A widow’s guide to stumbling through the holidays

The only thing is that the squirrels have discovered the bird feeder.  I hope they leave some for the birds.



Author: runawaywidow

At the age of 51 I unexpectedly became a widow. For the first 6 months after my husband died, I was in shock and numb. I journaled and with the help of friends, family and therapists was able to get back to living my old life, even if it is now very different. Before I was married, I had spent a semester in England and backpacked around Europe. My husband and I moved from New York to California for 8 years and started a family. Travelling took a back seat to raising a family and going to work everyday. Since the loss of my husband I have visited a lot of places with family and friends and took a solo trip to Thailand. I am enjoying sharing my stories and adventures as well as some of my insights to how I am traveling the path of being a widow. I hope to share my stories and adventures as well as some thoughts on being a middle aged widow. While I have some great experiences traveling to Thailand and cruising to Central America, some of my adventures involve a trip to see a Broadway show in nearby Manhattan and a shopping trip at Bed, Bath and Beyond. If I can inspire anyone to go out and continue to live a good life that would be my greatest accomplishment.

5 thoughts on “Procrastinating during the holidays is Sometimes a Good Idea”

  1. Sounds like it turned out to be a good day after all. Friends and family are so important. Know that I am thinking of you this holiday.

  2. You are truly amazing….how you write about what you do as well as emotional and heart rendering feelings about th good and bad in doing it…and yes we all can procrastinate but still moving on and doing new things makes all the difference. GOOD FOR YOU!

  3. New memories especially in the “decorating” scenario…I have done nothing, but that’s not unusual. But I had 2 lovely surprises in the last week both to do with my new home, even though I’m a tenant of only a few months…

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