My holiday wish for you

Evergreen. Its top five in “favorite olfactory experiences”, right alongside chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven, sea salt breezes, and pool chlorine. All of these scents transport me somewhere seasonal, celebratory and steeped in connection.

Truth be told, December feels overwhelming to me. There’s the sensory overload (lights! food! music!) as well as social pressures and shipping deadlines. Its not “the most wonderful time of the year” for introverted, slightly neurotic, post-fall-photo-frenzy Mel… not until the main event anyway. But then, along came December 2020…

Restrictions simplified an otherwise outrageous month. Instead of going to a light festival alongside 500 other people, we got in the car and drove around the neighborhood, drinking hot chocolate while peeping light displays and listening to carols on the radio. Instead of attending the school concert and taking all the grandparents out to dinner, M played for us at home over pizza. We baked cookies non-stop and we lit fire pits in the backyard. I relaxed more. I smiled more. Instead of hosting multiple family celebrations across our diverse traditions I hosted one very small one with homemade delicacies we have always wanted to make by hand but never before found the time.

Oddly, amidst a pandemic, I felt the peace the season always promised but had never before delivered.

I get that small scale is not what everyone wants, its OK to live for the holiday hoopla! It just never occurred to me that the holidays would happen without it. Christmas 2020 felt like that that time in the Hoo village where they woke up Christmas morning without gifts and decided to celebrate anyway.

Back to pics, I’ve always wanted to do a session like this. Two very close families set out together to choose “the one” while I tagged along to breathe in fresh air and document the process.

The kids found stalks of berries and went about decorating young trees their same height. I was so moved by this kid-driven act of simple, real joy and anticipation. It triggered something: I saw a forest of blank canvases. All these trees would go into different homes with different ways of celebrating, all of them beautiful and yet the essence of each is this forest, it is the same.

As I always do, I learn from your young ones. A tree can be decorated any which way. We don’t need to buy or do extravagant things during holiday time for it to be memorable or special. I won’t permit the media or advertisements to dictate what holiday cheer must look like in my home because its made in a million meaningful ways. Its a blank canvas. It can be simple as bright yellow berries strung on a young tree by young hands while breathing in evergreen air. It can be as magnificent as the tree in Rockefeller Center. It can be everything and anything in between.

I am enough, we are enough, what we provide is enough. I went to the barn and bought an undecorated wreath. Maybe I will add to it or maybe I won’t, I thought maybe I would add found objects from our forest much like the kids did, I just loved that so much. The wreath is beautiful with or without embellishment, its lovely scent will be the same regardless.

So my wish, for all clients and friends (for which there isn’t much distinction these days 🥰): may you regain the togetherness you lost to the pandemic while keeping peace wherever you wish or need it to be. Go big or go small, its our choice and the essence will be remembered fondly just the same. Get vaxxed, get boosted, get together and know without a doubt that the celebration you provide is enough when it’s steeped in family and in love.

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