Tuesday, December 22, 2009

En-lightening holiday:
Bringing creativity, heart and spirit back to the season.

A few posts ago, I wrote about how life changes had changed my holiday over the past year or so. And that’s not a bad thing. I realized that this gave me a chance to change some things, keep others and add something new.

I asked myself these questions: What cookies do I really love to bake? What do I want to light up with lights? How many decorations do I really want to get out and set up?

The answers were simple, really. I baked what I love to eat: Grandmother Gallacher’s Cherry Cake, shortbread and chocolate candies filled with walnuts. I lit up the tree and stairway with lights. I put out my Christmas Tree China that I love, filled a few bowls with pretty purple and gold balls, added snowy trees to the mantle, a wreath to the hall table and set out a few scented candles.

It all seemed to come together simply and easily.

As an artist and writer, I really love to create. This year, I let myself do that with my Christmas baking. When we had chocolate left over from the chocolate candies, I spread it out on waxed paper, added two kinds of chopped, salted nuts and put it in the freezer. Voila’…chocolate nut bark, yum!

Another thing I love to do is solve problems. And this year, I did that too. Long ago, my mother had gotten a recipe from my Grandmother Gallacher for her Filled Butter Cookies. But when my mother tried to make them, they didn’t turn out. I’ve had the recipe in my file for decades, but now, I wanted to make them myself. Looking at the recipe, it was clear to me that the proportions of butter to flour were all wrong. So, I fixed it. For the first time since my Grandmother died, I tasted these delicate butter cookies filled with cream cheese and raspberry jam. They are delicious!!

I really believe creativity and inspiration are meant to be shared, so I asked you: What do you love to do for the holidays around your home?

Lynn H said:
“I like peace and quiet, and days alone at home with my beloved Brian. I like making soup in the crock pot which does not need watching. I like the strings of Christmas lights which we leave up on the windows all year, and plug in from November-March while the sun is so absent. I like "less is more" for holidays. Last year we had our (1940's silver tinsel) tree but no decorations upon it. It still bounced light around the house and made it festive. I think holidays are about celebrating relationship. About telling those I love that I love them, one more time.”

I agree! This is a time to show our love for those we love, and that includes ourselves. Loving myself has always been hard for me, but doing these small things to light up my own holiday has been en-lightening to me. Because it’s not about doing things differently, it’s about being who I am, doing what I love and sharing that spirit with those I love. And that includes all of you!

May the season lighten and enlighten you, too and I hope that you’ll feel welcome to share it here, too.


goldenbird said...

Your decorations sound so pretty, Susan. How wonderful that you were able to fix your grandmother's cookie recipe. I baked oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies last night for the first time in ages and found it so soothing. I really like what you wrote about not doing things differently, but being who you are and doing what you love. Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and blessings all year long.

Susan Gallacher-Turner and Michael Turner said...

So glad that baking those oatmeal chocolate chip cookies was a soothing experience for you. I've always found baking to be a wonderful combination of creativity and comfort.

Hoping you had a wonderful Christmas and wishing you a happy and soothing new year!