Holiday Death Spiral

You can’t help but love how American artist, Norman Rockwell, captures the American experience in his paintings and illustrations. He is most famous for the cover illustrations of everyday life created for The Saturday Evening Post. This illustration adorned the cover on December 27, 1947. Rockwell produced more than 4,000 original works in his lifetime. He also illustrated more than 40 books, many Boy Scout calendars, and painted portraits of famous people, including Colonel Sanders, Judy Garland, and a few U.S. Presidents. Much of his work was dismissed by serious art critics in his lifetime. He was called an “illustrator” instead of an artist, but he didn’t mind. In 2013, the sale of his painting, Saying Grace, sold for $46 million. Who’s laughing now?

Looking at the exhausted salesgirl in the painting reminded me of an email I received in my inbox from marketing guy, Donald Miller. He was expounding on something people are at risk of becoming infected with this time of year: HDS (Holiday Death Spiral). He describes it as, “That deadly infestation of lies that hits us in the holidays where we start thinking calories don’t count and budgets don’t matter.” Because, after all, whatever we do now, we can correct in the New Year, right?

It made me chuckle because it’s true. Are you caught up in the busyness of HDS? Every year I swear this year will be different and I will have my cards done by Thanksgiving and presents bought with enough time to wrap them at a leisurely pace. I’ll bake things ahead of time and freeze them. And I’ll decorate a little each evening instead of a marathon decorating day that exhausts me into a lump on the couch.

I will probably fail on all those accounts. But that’s OK. The older I get, the less concerned I am about getting it all right. I used to think I had to have everything perfect; now I’m just happy if I get everything even close to done. And if I don’t, no one will die. No one will even get slightly hurt. Sure, this time of year is a little crazy, but I’m not going to let my dreams of an ideal Christmas season steal my peace.

Instead, I will try to choose to be grateful that I have people to send cards to, money to buy presents with, the ingredients I need to bake goodies, and a house to decorate. I will try to not get so caught up in what I have to do that I forget to be grateful for what I have.

Being Human connection: Whether you’re the super-organized type that is already ready for the holidays, or whether you are like me and procrastinating, my prayer for you is this:  May the peace of Christ which passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7), especially during this crazy season.

Featured art: Norman Rockwell, Christmas Rush (Tired Salesgirl on Christmas Eve), 1947