Jen’s back at work this morning, so our holidays are essentially over. I have an ambiguous relationship with holidays and vacations, because I persist in trying to work through them, at least at a reduced rate: even if I’m off visiting relatives, I still try to get at least some blogging in. I have a hard time relaxing. It’s probably why my holidays have been steadily less ambitious for years: in 1999 I was in Europe for Christmas and the New Year, but in 2000 I stayed home — and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Making travel an occasional and optional part of the holidays, rather than a duty, makes it possible to enjoy them more. The Christmas season is stressful enough and expensive enough without travel adding to both, and I’m trying to watch my stress levels and my pennies. So this year we stayed home and, for the most part, stayed in. We got out, but no more than usual. My mother showed up for the first week and was under strict orders from me to do little and decompress (read, watch movies, go for walks), and was successful at it: Shawville is a good place for that, I’ve found.