I had an uh-oh moment last week when I realized that Chinese New Year was just over a week away and we still hadn’t made any plans to celebrate. It didn’t sneak up on me. In fact, China’s biggest holiday has been marked on the calendar since before the new year. But truthfully, this has been an incredibly busy season for my family. Not hard. Just extremely busy. It feels as if we have been constantly bouncing from one thing to the next. Not in a bad way… just in a this-is-our-season-of-life way.
So even though I’ve known Lunar New Year was approaching for quite awhile, no activities or celebrations have been planned. I haven’t even decorated for Spring Festival like I’ve done in years past, though I did manage to put up a mini Chinese New Year tree surrounded by all of our stuffed zodiac animal friends. Sometimes life takes over and big celebrations simply don’t happen. And that’s alright. Because this season of life warrants something a little more simple.
Our Year of the Dog celebrations won’t include anything fancy. I will pull out leftover hóng bāo, donned with roosters, to give to my children on Friday. I know it’s too late to order anything for 2018 and, hey, why should the rooster red envelopes go to waste? We will sit on the sofa together and read a few of our Chinese New Year books. We will also sit down to a nice Chinese meal including my children’s favorite dishes. Eventually. The holiday lasts for two weeks, so I’m giving myself grace on the timing.
Sometimes life is a little too busy to make a big fuss. And that’s alright. As long as we recognize Spring Festival in some way, no matter how simple, I’m good with that. Because I believe wholeheartedly that my children should know their birth heritage. But honoring that doesn’t always have to be extravagant or complicated. It doesn’t have to look like years past. Especially in the busy seasons, less may truly be more.
If your family, like mine, is in a busy season, give yourself permission to do less. Decide on a simple way to celebrate that is honoring of your children’s Chinese heritage, but won’t stress you out. Go out to your local Chinese restaurant or read a few books together. Get frozen dumplings and cook them up at home.
Whatever you decide, feel confident that your simple celebration will be just right.
Xīn nián kuài lè wǒ de péng yǒu!
Happy New Year my friends!