We made it!

Well, we made it to December and the end of the year – hooray!! While this year may not have had quite the sticker-shock that 2020 did, I still wouldn’t give it a five star rating, would you? Sometimes that’s made it a lot harder to see the magic and humor in our world. But it’s still there, whether we’re able to see it or not.

And now here we are, barrelling into the holiday season (which I always picture somewhat like a trip in a barrel down Niagra Falls. Just me? ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) Now that I have kids, I find this month more stressful than ever, what with the school’s never-ending list of “fun activities for parents to discover 15 minutes before the bus arrives.” ๐Ÿ˜‰ But I also do it to myself, applying pressure to somehow keep a work and production schedule as though this were just any other month that didn’t include extra social activities, baking, everything-else-ing. And honestly, I love the holidays. It was one of my grandma’s favorite holidays too, and that’s where the magic is.

When I bring out all the Christmas decorations that seem to accumulate with a life of their own, I don’t just see the little shiny red ornament. I remember that red apple the year Grandma decorated her whole tree exclusively in them. I remember the excitement of Christmas when I was a kid, whether that was the weeks leading up to it – yes, probably enjoying those school activities. Or, eating waxy cheap advent calendar chocolates that tasted extra good with each growing number. I hold onto the wonder and memories of Christmas Eve, out with my family and visiting my great-aunt, often with both sides of the family there, a crazy fun evening of food and laughter and drinks. Every ornament, every holiday brings back those ghosts of the past, hanging around and over us for better or for worse. There’s something magical in those echoes of past laughter and memories, as though they’re all gathered around us, helping us celebrate the current holiday simultaneous with the past.

That’s the kind of magic I want to bring my girls every holiday season. That’s why I’ll plan our advent calendar full of activities like decorating stockings for the new kitties, or going out to see the lights, or wrapping gifts. These are the memories that I hope bring them that sense of magic and wonder in the years to come, maybe many years from now, as they still do for me.

Of course, the holidays can also bring back the not-so-good memories too. The stress, the anxiety, the depression that many fall into, some of it having to do with the holidays, some of it with the ending of the year. Which is why I think being able to see that humor and magic becomes both harder and more essential. I have two things for you that I hope might help.

First, an early gift for you! Here’s a printable adult coloring book (click here to download yours) that I made with images and quotes related to Shade for Love. If you color any of them, please share – I’d love to see them! I also hope that in even a small way, they give you that moment of quiet and peace you deserve.

I’m also sharing a picture of our own personal “tree-cat” in hopes he offers you a smile. Cats and decorations can be a fairly catastophic combo, can’t they? This year I suspected that would be the case, especially with three kittens, so I stuck strictly with plastic ornaments. I hadn’t expected that a) one of the kittens would literally knock the ornaments out of my hands and off the branch as I tried to hang it, LOL! or b) that another of the kittens would attempt to curl up and sleep IN the tree. That’s Loki, and yes, he is VERY aptly named. ๐Ÿ˜‰ If the tree goes down, you know who’s name I’m probably shouting. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, as we end this year, I just wanted to thank you so much for joining me here. I wish you and yours all the best this holiday season, whichever holidays you may celebrate, and here’s to a very wonderful year ahead in 2022! See you then.