A Holiday Rearrangement

I am shaking a storyteller’s snow globe and the result is not just a fictional snowstorm, but also the rearrangement of what many perceive this time of year to be. 

The holiday season can bring mixed emotions for many; they often come wrapped in memories and expectations.  For some, it is their favorite time of year with the magical holiday lights and decorations, family gatherings and traditions.  

In my exercise class this morning, my sweet teacher, Nicole Steen was literally jumping for joy, bellowing Christmas songs and exclaiming how much she LOVED this holiday.  Her enthusiasm was infectious and her child-like delight made me so happy.  For others, it brings feelings of sadness and loss, and can be stressful with the pressure imposed.  Seeing old friends and family members may be exciting, or may bring up memories of disappointments.

I find myself at a crossroads spending this holiday alone as I have the past few years. In a conversation I had with someone today, I became aware of the fact that I am not practicing what I preach!  I am passionate about self-care and disciplined to devote an enormous amount of time to my health, exercise, beauty care and nutritional regimen.  I adore entertaining and take pride in setting a beautiful table, going to the downtown flower mart at 5AM to create my arrangements, cooking and presenting unexpected surprises and packages for my guests.  Decorating for any occasion is sheer joy and I thrive on the creativity and beauty in every aspect of this delicious experience. 

When I lived in Aspen, our house was a winter wonderland complete with an abundance of decorations I created and holiday dinners entertaining friends, their families and children.  We made sure Santa always made an appearance, giving each child a gift with carolers serenading us. I was giddy with delight going to Star Toys in Brentwood with an Excel sheet listing dozens of children’s names, age and gender and requesting the perfect toy that this child could not possibly have.  It was important for me to make this special for everyone and each task leading up to the event – shopping, decorating, planning - every preparation was a labor of love.

I realized today that I am fooling myself. I am not honoring this Christmas, giving it the distinct joy that I have lovingly done in the past for others and myself.  I know that, you yourself, as much as anyone in the entire Universe, deserve your own love and affection.  I think it is important to validate ourselves and say, I am important, I matter, I am worthy.  I plan on doing this over the holiday by giving myself many unwrapped packages in the form of what makes me happy.  Making sure I can visit my stepchildren with the precious grandchildren, spending time with friends, attending art venues and becoming a tourist in my own city, trying out new recipes, taking some classes at the Apple store, volunteering to those less fortunate, devouring the many books on my nightstand begging for attention.

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A couple of years ago at the start of the holiday season, I was alone with only my muddled thoughts for company. There were many misplaced, mad and messy moments; it was not a pretty picture!  I thought I had exhausted my allotted ability to heal or feel any joy; no amount of retouching could restore my usual enthusiasm.  My canvas was beyond repair.  My dear friend Tina Staley came to spend a few days with me and her grace, enthusiasm, and indomitable spirit is always the right tonic at the right time.  With her caring, passionate ways she revived my spirit, which allowed me to put a stop to my ridiculous pity party.

Tina has spent many holidays with me in Aspen, and my Los Angeles apartment was quite a departure from the Christmas wonderland I had lovingly created in the past. I didn’t realize she was so surprised by my lack of enthusiasm, which revealed itself with the absence of any decoration, music, ornament, gift, floral arrangement – anything that remotely related to this holiday.  I returned home one afternoon to see the most beautiful expression of love and kindness. In her incredibly busy schedule during her short visit, she somehow managed to find the most perfect tree, haul it into my apartment, decorate it and light up not only the tree but also my apartment and my entire life!  She has so much faith, generosity and kindness that the angels compete to help! 

I believe this is a time for us to focus on what is really meaningful about this glorious holiday and not the material side of it.  Family, friends, spontaneous moments of laughter, tenderness, thoughtfulness, good health and random acts of kindness can take center stage rather than the frenzy we all get into with spending sprees and stressful situations.  I try to always see the glass half full and believe this is a time for us to focus on what is really meaningful about the holiday and not the material side of it. 

I plan to take advantage of the nourishment of my imagination and wonder, allowing it to resonate in the wonderful way it does. I  want to plunge thru the holes I am trying to cover up and enjoy the holiday for what it truly is.  If we manage our expectations and let every situation be what it is, instead of what we think it should be, there is no room for disappointment!  There is so much more to be enjoyed on this magnificent holiday and I am forever grateful for the beautiful gifts I receive from family and friends in the form of their love, support and encouragement in every step I take, every day of the year.  I now, as an adult, finally have the perspective to appreciate the value of my own joy.

The curative power of love in any season of life is so powerful but never more present in mine than now.  The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they make the best of everything they have.

I hope you will:

  • Live simply.
  • Love generously.
  • Care deeply.
  • Speak kindly.

I wish you Peace, Hope, Love and Joy this holiday season.