holiday recipes

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With some prompting, I have been thinking today about what I want to feel and experience this holiday season. I think it’s easier for me, for most of us, to list what we don’t want to feel and experience — stress, overwhelmed, tired, broke — than to pinpoint exactly what would leave us feeling full (besides of cookies!) and satisfied after a month-long frenzy of shopping, decorating, entertaining that inevitably takes center stage even for those of us who deliberately try to keep a safe distance from the mania.

But after a cup of tea and a healthy dose of staring out the window, watching snow flurries sputter to the ground, I finally came up with five feelings and experiences I wish for this December.

  • Wonderment: the feeling of surprise and awe and marvel of it all, this season of joy and peace. And so to add daily wonderment to our countdown to Christmas, I gifted our home this little treasure of an advent calendar. The simple act of open the little paper door each day is a throwback to my childhood and recaptures the wonderment I seek.
  • Relaxed: Wishful thinking, right? But with an honest look at the days ticking by and the available hours in each day, I can begin to see some of the “must do’s” and “high priority” items on my “to do” lists fall aside to a far more realistic, simplified way to honor these holidays and make them special. So a name-exchange is arranged, the card list shortened, the cookie baking streamlined, and hours in my diary left blank…to catch a breath, make some cocoa, and relax.
  • Festive: Which means Christmas music in the background, lit candles and sparkly lights, favorite meals and foodstuffs in the pantry, dusting off shiny vintage glass baubles, and dressing up the everyday, like a sprinkle of cinnamon in my morning coffee.
  • Reflective: I never feel right turning the page on a new calendar year without having spent time to think back on the events of the past year — the successes and failures, the celebratory steps forward and the lessons learned steps back, the gifts we received, the many blessings, the sorrow and disappointments, the beauty of all the days, even those spent doing unremarkable but necessary tasks like grocery shopping, navigating construction work, weeding, or cleaning the house. These days are our lives and worthy of contemplation, reflection before we rightly move on into 2014.
  • Peace: After some serious soul searching this year, I find myself already with more of a sense of harmony, love, and peace in my life than I’ve felt, well, in more years than I’d care to admit. But I am grateful to those who supported me, who helped me arrive at this more compassionate, peaceful place. And I look forward to sharing the peace and goodwill throughout the Christmas holiday and beyond.

Wonderment + Relaxed + Festive + Reflective + Peace = my personal recipe for a joyous month this winter holiday.

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