We all knew this holiday season was going to be very different than whatever a regular holiday season would have looked like. For me, I knew there would be no caroling, no potlucks, no peacock lane. The annual Pajama Party Potluck White Elephant Gift Exchange was definitely out. And I might not get to see my parents.
But there was definitely one thing that was sure to be the same: my Xmas celebration buddy was in my Covid bubble and we were going to squeeze every ounce of Xmas spirit out of whatever activities we could do. We were going to decorate the house, make Xmas crafts, watch Xmas movies, cook Xmas food, read Xmas stories, the whole deal.
Until she told me she was not feeling Xmas this year and didn't want to do all our usual things.
That is when I completely broke down. I was devastated. After a couple days and a lot of tears, I realized I had managed to be okay with all the other changes because this one thing was going to be the same. I had put all my emotional eggs in that one basket of expectations and I was whole-basket-disappointed when my expectations were not met.
I feel like this has happened multiple times over this year. I just didn’t see the pattern until this holiday moment. On several occasions a measure that would promote greater equity in the city has been up for a vote before the City Council. Tens of thousands of residents send emails and submit oral and written testimony, but it does not pass. The system remains the same.
The first time I witnessed this phenomenon I swung from a very hopeful place to a deeply disappointed place. Since I now see this is how it goes most of the time, I no longer put all my hope for solutions to city problems in the City Council basket. I participate in mutual aid and support organizations working to make change. I have diversified my contributions to solving inequity in my local area.
I took a similar approach for the holidays. Just as with everything else this year: I made do with what I had. I mourned the loss of my holiday hopes and made other arrangements to soak myself in various flavors of festive cheer. I put up all the decorations, captured a video tour on my phone, and sent it to folks who usually come over in-person during the holidays.
I baked Xmas cookies over zoom with several friends. I didn't have the Xmas shaped cookie cutters my mom and I usually use because they are at her house in another city. So I used the random assortment of shapes and animal cookie cutters I have picked up over the years. Xmas snail anyone? How about a Xmas moose? (Chrismoose?!)
I did all the craft projects. I sewed, I glittered, I cut and glued. I made presents, I made decorations, I fixed a hole in someone’s pants. I watched Xmas movies, I read Xmas books, I listened to Xmas music. Some things I did by myself, some with my household, and some with friends over videochat. I diversified my pool of sources for holiday enjoyment. And it worked!
This seems like a generally sound strategy. Any investment advisor I’ve ever spoken to has proclaimed the importance of diversifying an investment portfolio so not every slice of the investment pie moves in lock-step with all the other slices. It seems like diversifying the methods we use to solve societal problems will ensure that when some of them fail there are other efforts that carry on the work.
Diversity of tactics seems to be the most important factor for success of any social movement. Although sometimes it would be good to consolidate all the eggs into one basket. Take the most recent local mayoral election where more than half the votes were for not-the-incumbent. If all those voters who desire something other than continuation of the status quo had put their collective voting eggs in one basket we would have a different mayor.
There are also some times when it's not possible to have more than one basket. Humanity definitely has all our planet eggs nestled into this one Earth basket. It’s really too bad we are doing such an effective job wrecking this particular basket. I hear over and over from experts and advocates that the problem of global climate collapse is worse than we all think.
No one can predict exactly which terrible consequences of climate change will occur at what time. I’m sure we’ll find out in the next couple decades because it’s started already. Ancient microbes previously locked in permafrost are waking up and scientists are scrambling to figure them out. We used a diversity of methods to change and destroy ecosystems, so maybe we can use a diversity of tactics to come together and save the planet.
Information and Inspiration
Jaydra is a human in-process, working to make the world a better place. Sharing thoughts, feelings, and observations about the human experience.