Christmas is more than a week behind us and the New Year is a but a few days old. We’ll soon move on to the continued work of winter, plowing snow, clearing the walks, and weeding through the seed catalogues as we dream of spring’s thaw and those first buds that will blossom. For me, the end of the holiday season is just the beginning of a new adventure. My birthday will soon be here and I’ll have the opportunity to celebrate via my traditional day trip with Mr. LucyLoves, some lunch dates with girlfriends and a gathering with family. Spring will bring clean up and colorful blooms in the yard, followed by the heat of summer, walks on the beach, hikes in the park, and a road trip or two. Then fall will roll around again and we will start the preparations for this joyous season once again. That’s not enough for me however. I like to reflect on the year that has past, the beauty and newness of our most recent holiday season and find a way to keep it alive in all the months to come.
I’ve cleared the tree and packed most of the decorations away but there are still reminders throughout my home of the happiness my family is still enjoying. There are still Christmas fragranced candles burning, poinsettias around and about, and a couple of my favorite ornaments that I maintain on display for the entire year as a reminder of the beauty of the season. My holiday china remains in use until winter’s end and comfort foods remain a staple. All of these things and more help me to maintain the joy in my heart that is so very full this time of year.
But the absolute best way to maintain the holiday spirit is to practice gratitude. In my family, we are so very blessed and so very grateful. Not a day passes that I don’t think my higher power for the gifts in my life, from family and friends, to animals, to a few cherished items that bring me elation. Being grateful for what you have is the key to being happy no matter what your current situation may be. Grateful people don’t want more, they want to give more. And that brings a joy that many have yet to grasp.
Of course I maintain holiday spirit by enjoying my material gifts to the fullest. My family goes to great effort to share truly meaningful presents which I cherish the entire year through. And not only my own, but those Mr. LucyLoves receives as well. Every time I wear my new cashmere sweaters, which are quite a treat, I will think of Christmas morning. Listening to music on Mr. LucyLoves new, long wished-for BOSE will absolutely fill our home with joy. The new hot pink leather gloves I received from my niece and the puzzles we so love that Santa left under the tree will make me happy long after the wrapping paper is stowed away. Gifts should be shared and enjoyed and bring pleasure when you see and use them. But gifts received are not the spirit of Christmas, it’s the joy in sharing gifts that sustains true meaning.
My favorite way to keep the holiday spirit alive is through the act of giving throughout the year to come. We all tend to consider giving more generously during the winter holidays. Who can resist the bell ringers and the food collection bins, the children’s toy charities and the coat and blanket donation sites when we are vividly reminded of them each time we go out? Yet, once the weather begins to warm, many tend to slip back into life routines without a second thought to charities in need. I make a conscientious effort to continue giving throughout the year, be it a few dollars at the grocery store fund drive, purchasing and delivering extra pet supplies to a local shelter or even buying fundraiser items from the children in our local schools and scouting troupes. The need of our local charitable foundations doesn’t stop when the holidays fade and often the need increases. I may not always be able to contribute as much as I would like but there is no amount too small, be it a few coins or just thirty minutes of time. There are always people, and animals, who are living in strife and I can make some bit of difference. Doing so has become a pleasure.
Perhaps the liveliest way I maintain the Christmas spirit year-round is to keep a few reminders within eye’s view in my home. I have a lovely cloisonné bird ornament that sits in my dining room to remind me of holiday joy. A miniature snowman wind chime hangs in my stairwell and smiles at me every time I climb passed. Even the bright blooms on my orchids have me recalling the wonder of Christmas and the New Year long after the normal décor has been restored. These few reminders are all I need to keep Christmas alive and the spirit soaring with me. I am Christmas-time happy all the time. I am filled with the joy of the New Year the entire year long. My journey is living in this snow-globe season and we can all live happier, more bliss-filled lives with a little effort. And a little effort leads to a lot of ease.
Whichever way you choose to keep the holiday spirit alive, share your blessings and ideas with those around you. Make your home a holiday haven, twelve months out of the year, by living every moment like it is as special and meaningful as it is and be grateful for the same. You won’t be disappointed.
Live a beautiful, holiday life.