Happy Holidays!

I cannot believe Christmas is almost here! I just wanted to take a few minutes to catch up with you and wish you the very best this season.

Is it me or did all the festivities sneak up on us this year?  It knew it was coming, but I just wasn’t ready. I spent the last four years working at a church – Christmas was around me 24/7, and I didn’t get a chance to truly enjoy it.

This year, back in August when I turned in my two week’s notice, I began dreaming of all the awesome things I’d do to celebrate Christmas my way. My halls would be decked, I’d design the perfect Christmas card and hand address all the envelopes, a perfect Christmas playlist would be playing, I’d have hot apple cider simmering all the time because I’d of course have guests stopping by to share the good cheer of the season with me…But before I knew it, it was two weeks before Christmas, and my tree was still in my garage and all our ornaments and decorations were tucked away in the attic and the craft room closet.

My perfectly-designed Christmas cards with handwritten personal message, and adoringly hand-addressed and sealed with gold embossing?  Gone.  I didn’t even send out cards this year.

A house full of beautiful decorations, a tree that just sparkled in its festiveness (yeah, that’s a word in my world)?  Not quite.  My husband rocked the outside decor this year and we put up a couple of things, but honestly?  Not much was done.  Our tree stood in our living room for a couple of weeks with no ornaments, just twinkling away. We just finished our tree two hours ago, and it’s not as nice as it’s been in years past and we have very few other decorations.  I did, however, manage to make one of those ornament wreaths that I’ve been drooling over forever.  But it’s been a laid-back kind of holiday season for us.  But the sparkle in my son’s eyes when we light it up is all I need.

But even in its imperfections, I’m loving this season.  My son is starting to understand that it’s a special time of the year and he’s buzzing with even more energy than usual.  He’s curious about what he sees and he’s starting to get that wide-eyed look like he’s absorbing all the magic and wonder of this time of year. Despite not having had beautiful decorations and designing my own cards this year, I’ve been enjoying it a lot more.  I’ve been able immerse myself in the fun stuff of the season – going to more parties, spending time with friends, watching Ovation TV’s Battle of the Nutcrackers, making Oreo truffles and delivering them to my neighbors.

I have to confess that I do feel guilty.  I had a great start to The Teal Magnolia with my first craft fair in November, but kind of took a step back afterwards. I know I probably should have gone all-out on the shop for the holidays, offering awesome sales and new products and all that jazz.  But I decided to take it easier around Christmas for once. I’ve spent the past few Christmases tied to my job. It made the season a chore instead of a celebration.  This year, I didn’t want that to happen.  I wanted to have peace and joy and time to breathe.  The Teal Magnolia kind of came about so suddenly – within weeks I had a site/blog, a bunch of merchandise and a craft fair under my belt.  I decided that I owe it to my family and myself to slow down and keep myself flexible this time.

And it has been great. I am truly thankful for this simplified Christmas, both the parts that I wanted to simplify and the parts that I hadn’t planned on simplifying.  It’s allowed me to focus on the warmth (and not just the non-winter weather we’re having), friendship, wonder and love that is all around me.

And here I am, getting ready to go join my neighbors for Thirsty Thursday, in a twinkling home with my family here ready to celebrate.  Simple and perfect.

So whatever you celebrate this time of year – Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, the end of a year and a spirit of renewal – I wish you the very very best that simplicity and love have to offer.



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