November 27, 2014

Calm During the Storm

The first big snowfall of the season come and so with it the Santa Claus parade welcomed the nice old man in town. The local radio station immediately switched to its Christmas music playlist, gently reminding me of what Bing Crosby (and I) is dreaming about. The neighbours already have their Christmas lights lit and flyers for Holiday deals and magazines full of magical scenes of happy families and perfect Christmas sets clutter the letterbox every day. The cranberry bliss bars and snowman cookies are smiling at me through the Starbucks window while the stores are packed with Christmas decor since the day after Halloween. Bloggers are eagerly sharing Christmas crafts and recipes and my email box will soon explode from offers for Holiday events happening all over the country...   
In other words, the Holiday Hustle is officially under way and whether we are ready or not, Christmas is coming. 
It is, in fact, my favourite time of the year, "the most wonderful time of the year, the hap-happiest season of all..." And it's not because of all the above mentioned reasons which are more likely to cause me stress and strive for the best table setting, the best dinner, the best gifts... a la Martha Stuart sort of celebration. No! I love this time of year because despite the general consumerism and corporate pressure to "buy" the perfect Christmas, I know that the Holiday season is all about giving, being with loved ones, helping the less fortunate, sharing love, warmth, big hugs, family time, cozy company right when we need it most. I love this time of year because it makes me take a deep breath, brew a cup of my favourite coffee, slow down and pay attention to what brings me joy and what matters most in my life. I don't always have a plan. But I don't always need one. Sometimes I just need to breath, trust and stop obsessing over doing it all and falling pray to perfectionism, comparison, hectic pace, shopping madness. Whatever I get done will be more than enough. Yes, I will bake the most delicious Christmas cookies, I will weave the most beautiful Christmas wreath, I will write the most heartwarming messages on the Christmas cards, I will cook for my friends and family and set a beautiful Christmas table, I will speak hours on the phone with my mom, sister and little nephew on the other side of the globe, I will visit Irene (who doesn't have a family) in the retirement home, I will attend parties and Christmas markets, I will read and sing carols...
But I am clearly doing that out of a desire for genuine connection with myself and others rather then to look good or out of the sense of obligation. Holiday seasons should give us great breaks and great times. It should be filled with simple quiet moments and little chances to unwind, relax and communicate our core values. We need to focus our energy on enjoying the people in our lives and feasting on each other's touch and treasured thoughts. We may beautifully wrap the gift of kindness, faith, forgiveness, hope and gratitude and gift ourselves with it before giving it to others...
After all, I might actually have plan to help me celebrate this holiday season. I might even have a list to follow this Christmas. Perhaps these "items" I can keep on my list all year long.

There is freedom and calm in simplicity.
And there is calm during the storm.  

Thank you to all of you who commented on my Christmas Cards here on the blog and on Sylvia's Simple Life Facebook Page. Thank you to all of you who share my Etsy shop with your friends and readers. Your support is greatly appreciated.
A set of five of my cards is ready to be sent to Jane from Blondie's Journal as she is the winner of the giveaway.

Sharing with What's It WednesdayHome Sweet HomeSay G'Day


  1. I love what you have said. Many things that take time naturally slow us down, but in our society, we are now forced to rush to just keep up with the pace of making a living. Oh Sylvia, I BELIEVE that slowing down is good because we need to fill up. Too many people give and give and forget to stop. When I stop, I can hear the birds, the snow falling, myself thinking. How I love your labrador retriever, that gorgeous brew and all the brown colors of your post today, as I wait patiently for our turkey to roast. What a lovely way for me to wait - to come here with you.

    Relax and enjoy. Anita

  2. Sylvia i would love to bring my labs and myself and love to have coffee while the dogs play in the snow!

  3. What a calming, peaceful, beautiful post.

  4. What a beautiful post, love the colors, the feeling...the calmness!

  5. Another beautiful post Sylvia. Very atmospheric! Wishing you a happy weekend!

    Madelief x

  6. Important thoughts beautifully put. Thank you, Sylvia.

  7. Such a beautiful tone you have set with these gorgeous photos. I love how it reaches deeply into what we all hope for in the season. Thanks you for this lovely gift!

  8. Sylvia, congratulations on
    your beautiful cards and
    Etsy shop! I was unable to
    enter as I was in London
    visiting family, but please
    know that I am a huge fan
    of your lovely photography
    and heartfelt words : )

    I agree about the calm
    in the storm. I feel very
    thankful that I work from
    home and only have to
    be out in the hustle if I
    want to be....a blessing,
    for sure.

    Enjoy wrapping your
    arms around this precious
    season, sweet friend!

    xo Suzanne

  9. Coffee never looked so pretty! Thank you for joining Home Sweet Home!

  10. I hope you don't mind, but I would like to borrow this thought from you to write inside my Christmas cards next year: "May you beautifully wrap the gift of kindness, faith, forgiveness, hope and gratitude and gift yourself with it before giving it to others..." It's so wonderfully stated.

    1. Thank you very much, Cocoanlace! You are more than welcome to use the phrase.


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