Natalie Ogbourne

Every winter, I direct a troupe of middle and high school actors. From the very first year, there has always been that rehearsal. If you have ever worked with a group of kids, you know what I mean: mass distraction, constant talking, and management issues of all kinds. It happens every single year. In the beginning, I willed my way through, taking note of what I needed to change for next time. Then, one year during that rehearsal, I realized I didn’t have to just get through it. Some of what I was planning for next time could be addressed now instead of waiting for later. That’s what I did, transforming that rehearsal into something to enjoy rather than endure.
Small course corrections can bring about big shifts in trajectory.
Every December, we Christmas. While the way we Christmas differs from person to person, a consistent refrain I hear from friends and from my own heart is that we are in some way disappointed with the way we do it. We walk through the busyness of the baking, shopping, celebrating, and even the waiting and worshiping in much the same way I willed my way through that rehearsal. We take note and make plans for what we want to change next time.
It’s almost time to audition actors for the next show, which means that rehearsal is crouching at the door. December is here, which means this Christmas season is underway. I’m taking a lesson from that rehearsal for this Christmas. While we can’t change everything, small course corrections can shift the season’s trajectory. We don’t have to wait for next time. Whether to the schedule, our mindset, or even our traditions, there are changes we can make now.
One change I made was to let our life influence our traditions rather than the other way around. For years, we put our tree up on or before my November 22 birthday. Over time, this has drifted to Thanksgiving break. I could have pushed the family into wedging it into an already full weekend this year. I considered it, even knowing it was a bad idea. Ultimately, though, I knew it would transform our decorating tradition into something to endure rather than enjoy. We decorated a little later and a little less than usual. We had a laid-back evening. And we even had room for a yes to my daughter’s request to watch our first Christmas movie of the season.
Look at the landscape of your Christmas life.
What small change can you make now to shift the trajectory for this season? Give it some thought and let me know what you decide.
happy trails ~ Natalie