Barry and I did things differently than usual this December. We didn't send holiday cards. We didn't bake Christmas treats. We didn't watch holiday specials on t.v. We didn't get a Christmas tree. Instead, I gathered pine branches from a discarded pile in a neighbor's yard and arranged them in a large vase in our apartment - that was the extent of our decorating. We didn't spend weeks making our Christmas gifts. We spent one day shopping for presents for our families. And we didn't get gifts for one another. We decided to wait until the new year to look for a piece of art or furniture for our place together - a gift to ourselves. We essentially treated this December as if it were any other month. Some of that was intentional, although much of it just sort of happened due to busy work and travel schedules. It certainly wasn't the most romantic Christmas ever, but it was the calmest, most stress-free holiday season I can remember. And I liked it just fine.