Feeling the Spirit

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And so it begins… ’Twas Three Weeks Before Christmas, and all through the house: lights are twinkling, trees are decorated, carols are on repeat, the table is set with Spode Christmas tree dishes, and my "most wonderful time of the year" has begun! I know it’s chaotic. I know it’s hectic. And I know it is a difficult time for many people - but for me it’s magic. I love the touchstone of Christmas, with the traditions and memories that bring me back home to myself year after year, and I love the quiet moments most of all; sitting by the tree with a cup of tea is just as special as an elaborate holiday party!

It comes as no surprise to family and friends that I’m not really a crafty gal, but decorating our Christmas trees (for hours…and hours!) is a creative joy for me, as well as a walk down memory lane. Sharing the Christmas spirit with my mother and grandmother is one of my earliest memories, and as I unwrap the carefully packed heirlooms of holidays past, memories and joy fill the room. My grandmother’s clothespin soldiers and pinecone skiers, and the beautiful ornaments my mom has passed on to me - these symbols envelop me with a spirit of timelessness and connection to generations and experiences that make me who I am today. A simple ritual of decorating the trees brings a range of emotions: laughter, tears, and - always - love. Love for my mother’s exquisitely chosen ornaments; love for my friends choices - who know me so well - I smile and chuckle at the fluffy bird from Heather, the toucan from Kim, Bert’s helicopter from Karen (and the rat for me!). I’m flooded with memories as I rediscover the ornaments found during my travels, handmade by my sons, and purchased from favorite shops (thank you Orchard Nursery and Filoli). Much thought is given to choosing the perfect spot for each of these treasures - the storage boxes are filled with much more than Christmas ornaments. Each piece holds a recollection or remembrance - and the act of decorating the trees is a gift to myself. I feel comfort and connection as I recall my special childhood under-the-tree memories---and those with my own kids through the years….and sometimes, my six-feet tall boys still join me under the tree. Magic.

I love the season so much, that I could think of no better celebration than a Christmas wedding…and that December 23rd (a few years ago...) was as festive as it gets! I still don’t know how my mom did it: red velvet bridesmaid dresses, red roses and pine sprigs, and silver Christmas tree forms with white orchids on the table. It was a Winter Wonderland. Filled with magic and love. And that, is what I wish for you this holiday season. In the midst of working, parenting, decorating, partying, shopping, and doing — find that moment of just being, whatever and wherever it may be. Wishing you magic and love. Happy Holidays!

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