Calm Before the Celebration


Each year I’m caught by surprise, late into the evenings, after the rest of my family is snuggled down in their comforters.


Surprise. A Gift. MAGIC


Can the holiday season be stressful for me? Of course, yes.

There’s so much planning: work holiday parties, presents for the family, Christmas Eve and Christmas dinners – when, where, and what to make. Who should we invite to share a meal? Is there anyone that doesn’t have family with which to gather? They’ll be invited, for sure. Better keep a list so I make enough food.


Actually, who am I kidding? I always make twice as much as I need to.


Not only presents, but stocking stuffers to remember. The bigger problem is remembering what I’ve already picked up. Does anyone else end up surprised by the number of small gifts piled in stockings on Christmas Eve? Or… does anyone else squirrel away presents in such brilliant spots that they aren’t found again until well after Christmas?


Oh, and then there’s the fact that I should possibly actually clean my house. Like really clean my house. It’s a must: my boys can’t hit the toilet to save their lives, my dog sheds like it’s his job, and the wood stove tends to dust the whole house because I don’t. Not the same result!




Among all of the holiday paper, boxes, and prep I do after the family has gone to bed - and all lights are extinguished other than the Christmas lights – I find a stillness in my home. This is a mama’s gift! And a generous one.




From where I finally settle, wrapped in the years-worn pink cotton of the quilt my grandma made me when I was a child, I witness an unmistakable tranquility come forth and dance with the scent of pine. It shimmies across the tinsel, cavorts with the ornaments on the tree, then is drawn throughout the house by the flirtation of lights. In the bay window in the living room the promenade pauses momentarily to behold confetti snowflakes filtering down through the amber of the neighbor’s porch light.




Bearing witness to this dance, this beauty, an undercurrent of immense gratitude leads me to a restorative and calming breath. And there it is – the gift, the MAGIC of the season – tranquility fills my lungs, my cells, my soul.


Take the time to breathe it all in this, and every holiday season to come, my friends!


Happy Holidays from my family to you all!!

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