Rediscovering Christmas

Painting my ice cream cone Christmas tree in 1974

Painting my ice cream cone Christmas tree in 1974

My birthday may be in July but I’m a Christmas girl at heart.  From festive wrapping paper to colored lights to frenzied shopping malls and peppermint-anything, I love it all and have ever since I was 3 years old, turning an upside-down ice cream cone into a tiny Christmas tree.  But the past few Christmases have come and gone without sparking that old familiar joy.  For whatever reason – financial worries, relationship struggles, family squabbles – the essence of Christmas proved elusive.  So, this year, I lowered my expectations.  No tree graces the living room, no wreath on the door.   There are no cookies in the oven or candies on the stove.  There’s no loitering at stores to soak up the atmosphere.  The only concessions to the season are the stockings gracing the fireplace.

Shan11And… there’s the workshop.  It used to be the dining room but sometime around Thanksgiving it underwent a transformation when I got the urge to create.  The metamorphosis  started with a blizzard of paper hearts and culminated in a parade of paint, pens, paper and punches, stencils, pencils, ribbons and glue.  Once I got started I couldn’t stop.

A bowl of hearts!

A bowl of hearts!

Shan13For weeks life consisted of work, hitting the craft store for more supplies, and getting lost in the art of, well, art.  All the people I love so much became muses!  As I snipped and clipped, paint-brushed and re-touched, my head spun with questions:  What’s her favorite color?  What would make them happy?  What would give him hope?  And my heart filled to bursting as I reflected on the people I was creating for.  The positive vibe in that room was palpable!  The workshop became a sacred space in which to cherish people, honor them, love them.

And somewhere along the way another room, the one in my heart, underwent its own transformation.   The more I loved the less I stressed.  The more I gave thanks the less I believed in lack.  And the more I gaveShan  selflessly the more joy reappeared.  Somehow, in and amongst the uncertainty and anxiety, cracked relationships began to heal, and ending relationships lost their sadness.  There in my dining room, with no lights or carols or candy canes, the magic of Christmas came home to stay.

No matter what holiday you celebrate, may it be filled with hope, love, and kindness.  Blessings to you all. ❤

Shan15Shan12

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