Almost all of my recent Instagram posts have the title of this entry as a hashtag. I use it in reference to my holiday enchantments: decorating, making gifts, planning holiday activities and fun, my general getting into the holiday spirit (and trying to encourage those around me to join in, as well). So far, the posts have been mostly decorating and the silly amount of fun that I have with that (which is really more than words can describe – though I’m like that for every holiday, not just Christmas!). I have come to discover, though, that this year, more so than in the past, I am enjoying more about the underlying importance of holidays (to me) than the ‘get stuff and have stuff’ type thoughts. Not that those were ever really in the front of my mind, mind you!
We try to (every year…some years work better than others…this year, we are on a really great roll so far!!) plan really well thought-out, considerate gifts for our friends and family. I love making things. I am a crafter extraordinaire (both by day and by night!), and I love love love giving homemade gifts to people. So, the gift-giving season is generally just as rewarding for me to make things as it is to know that the gifts we give are individualized and personal. Basically: I feel almost bad because I get so much joy out of making the gifts for others that it feels selfish. This year, it is pretty simple, as well. Hats and scarves and shawls for those in cooler weather areas (family in Hawaii….oh man, this is a fun first year to have to branch out!); homemade, organic bath scrubs (last year I made whole sets with homemade soaps, soaks, lip scrubs, sugar scrubs…); personalized art kits for some brilliant aspiring artists in the family; cute kitchen sets (aprons and mitts)…things that we believe others will enjoy and use. I like the idea of useful gifts, never having been one for frivolous things that just sit there year after year after year.
Why do I mention this? Well, this is one of the things that has been occupying my time lately. We have the house in Tennessee mostly decorated, with a few select things left to do (outdoor lights…kinda always put those off until the last minute). I am excited to decorate home when we get back next week, as well. Changing the wreath from fall to winter…I am excited! But more than the business, I thought I’d share because I have found that some of the happiest moments these past few weeks have been the ones where I am so extra busy, but with others and sharing these fun things together. All the kiddos here want to have a fun holiday. Last night, homework was put aside and we dumped all the ornaments on the floor and went to town, just us 3 girls, and decorated a beautiful tree while giggling, humming Christmas songs, and the other two drinking hot cocoa. It was a nice night to share with a “let’s not do family stuff together if I don’t have to” teenager and a young girl who loves all things glitter. This memory…I am so glad that we took the time to do it together. It made it that much more special. Sure, I could’ve decorated the tree all by myself and it have that picture-perfect look that I try to accomplish in our own home. Sure, it would’ve likely taken less time. Sure, I could’ve just taken over everything and told them how to do it all. But why? The holidays aren’t just about me and my crazy Virgo-perfectionist-control freak desire to have things look and go perfectly as I plan, but rather about making memories and sharing in the joy. Now when we all look at the tree, we can see the spots with a few too many ornaments and the spots with too few. We can all feel good about our contribution to the family room and adding in some Christmas cheer. We all get to look fondly at the tree and know that we did it together.
I also love that the youngest keeps asking for help to make her surprise gifts for everyone. She and I go into crazy craft mode sometimes and hours fly by. I am expecting that tonight, too…tomorrow, we are running a 5k together, and the race doesn’t give out medals. I asked her if she wanted to make some and the family can give them to us when we finish. OF COURSE she said yes, so we are using glitter ribbon, foam tiaras, glitter, glue, and likely any number of art supplies in the closet, in order to make each other finisher ribbons for our first 5k together. It is going to be wonderful. 🙂
Aside from all of the holiday-ness, health has been on my mind. My ribs are mostly better, though the pain is returning to my arm. I am working through it and trying to adjust, though I hope that we can figure out the root of the problem soon! I have been extra vigilant about logging my food and watching my portions and water intake, while I haven’t been able to do any physical activity. Man…Monday through Wednesday, I was on point. Water intake was awesome, food was great (and healthy, not just calorically), and I was sleeping mostly enough. Yesterday was another story altogether. I waited too long to eat and overate at lunch. Then at dinner, I ate things that I know make me not feel well…and…well…I didn’t feel good at all for hours after. I suppose that served as a reminder to be mindful when I eat. Lesson remembered!
Another lesson I learned: If you are working on making sure you’re drinking enough water, drink 500mL-1L before you drink/eat anything else in the morning. Not kidding. Over the week, I’ve been experimenting with making sure I hit 3L+ daily. I have coffee. Daily. Just one. And usually just in the morning. The days where I had 500mL-1L BEFORE my morning cup of coffee were the easiest days to meet (or exceed) my water goal. Really. It was only slightly more difficult on the other days, but it was noticeable. Having to chug down 750mL before bed because I’d been a little slow on the water later in the day was rough!! Just my two cents, but it may help! PLUS being thirsty sends similar feelings out as being hungry, so sometimes when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually thirsty! Drinking more water can DEFINITELY help in appetite control!!
Lastly for today, gratitude. Today I am grateful for love, as I generally am every day. Love from family, friends, romantic partners, pets…whatever. It is nice to spread love and share it. It is wonderful to receive it. Love is just a happy, fuzzy, warm, delightful thing that we can never have too much of and that it is never a bad thing to spread around. Really. Even if you fall in love and get hurt (oh so many times I’ve done that), having shared that love in the first place was the most wonderful gift. Truly. Heartbreak hurts, too. Rips your soul apart. Sometimes it feels better to have a cold heart and never love anyone or anything. But it isn’t. Love yourself, first and foremost. And let yourself feel that love. Take a warm shower. Wear some clean, warm socks. Drink some delicious tea. Treat yourself to making your favorite meal. But experience love. I try to put love into all the interactions I have with others, as much as possible. I find myself slipping sometimes and not regarding others with a kind heart. I’m human, after all. And if I can collect myself and regroup, I try again. A gentler smile, softer voice, more kind words. Everyone can use some love.
One of my favorite thoughts/quotes/ideas (not sure who said it first, though) is that you should be kind to everyone you meet; every person is fighting their own battles that you know nothing of. Also, your smile and hello could be exactly what that stranger on the street needed today, you never know!
Go with love! ❤