I love the holidays. The music, the excitement, the decorations, the fervor of anticipation. It’s all part of the wondrous Christmas spirit. During the Christmas season, I enjoy reading the numerous romantic novellas that are available from my favorite writers. This year I read MERRY CHRISTMAS, BABY by Jill Shalvis and WHEN SNOW FALLS by Brenda Novak.
The Thanksgiving season has arrived! Here are some things I’m thankful for this year:
Faith. Even when life is hard, faith makes it seem so much easier.
Health. I’ve suffered, seen others suffer, and those experiences made me realize what a blessing good health is.
My husband and kids. They’ve added a whole new dimension to my life that wouldn’t exist without having loved them and been loved by them.
Friends. I’ve had the privilege of forging some incredible friendships with women who’ll be there for me no matter what.
My writing life. I’m one of those rare and lucky people that have been able to do all the things that I wanted to do: college, business career, wife, mother. Now that empty nest syndrome is looming in the near future, I’m blessed to have accomplished my goal to become a published writer.
Romance. After twenty-two years of marriage, I’m still living out my own fairy tale romance with the love of my life.
Whether I’m in a big city, a smaller town, or tucked away in a secluded cabin for a quiet weekend, autumn is my favorite time of year. The beauty of the turning leaves, the crispness of the air, the coziness of the dropping temperatures…they all tease my senses with the wistfulness of ending another year and the wonder of starting the next.
There’s something about autumn that’s simply romantic. Every year when the first hints of fall waft on the breeze and begin to tinge the leaf tips, I yearn for the fairy tale decorations that grace the buildings of New York City, or the covered bridges and fiery landscape of New England, or the winter wonderland that blankets the Rocky Mountains.
With the holiday season approaching, I find myself writing, writing, writing…Christmas lists. Worrying over how to get my shopping done. Concerned about WHAT to give. A little frantic about getting the decorations and lights up and the baking done. And then I realized how absurd it is to allow the ‘demands’ of the holidays to out weight the joy of the season. So I stopped and considered how I can recapture the true meaning of the holiday spirit, and one word kept popping into my mind: T-I-M-E
I cleared everything off my calendar and desk that isn’t absolutely necessary. When I really considered what is necessary and what really isn’t, I found myself surprised at the answer.
I shortened my shopping list. My Aunt Wilma doesn’t need another pair of slippers. If she did, I’d gladly send them. But she more than likely has several never-before-worn pairs tucked in a closet out of sight so none of us well-meaning relatives get offended. I can use the time I would’ve spent shopping for those slipper to sit down and call her. Or better yet, write her a letter.
I prioritized my commitments. Instead of trying to make everyone happy, I’ll send a handwritten note declining the commitments that I can’t get to. It’s a good way to personally touch base with people and organizations but offer my regrets at the same time instead of spreading myself (and my family) too thin.
I scheduled quiet time with just my immediate family. Granted, we had to plan a trip out of town to ensure this one happens, but I’ll have a few days alone with my spouse and my kids in a winter wonderland. A rare occurrence, indeed.
I made a list of people that are dear to me. No gifts in the column next to their names. Instead, I wrote the reason they are special to me and jotted down a short story or memory about how they’ve touched my life. Many were funny or kind or sweet and brought a smile to my lips and warmth to my heart. The extra time I’ve created will be used to send a personal note – not just a generic Christmas card with my name printed inside – wishing them health and happiness and telling them how blessed I am to have them in my life.
What ideas do you have to make this holiday season special? If you could get away and spend quality time with your significant other during the holidays, where would it be?