As we enter the holiday season busyness is lurking just ahead, yet in the midst of preparations and celebrations there are simple pleasures waiting just for you. I’m so glad you joined me today as I begin sharing the simple pleasures of the holidays.
Set up a hospitality station
When I was a girl a common event in our home was the presence of neighbors stopping by for a cup of tea and some conversation. We had three neighbors who regularly stopped by for a chat with my mom. I assumed that when I got older that I too would enjoy the company of my neighbors. I am sad to say that I rarely have visitors, especially the type that just stops by for a chat.
With busy lives we don’t often visit or even call to chat on the phone. A text is quicker and doesn’t get us caught up in a conversation. Dear friend, this is not progress. I long for fellowship and happy chats.
Last week I was completely delighted when two friends stopped by in the same day. We had just prepared hot water for some tea so I remembered to offer my neighbor a cup. We enjoyed tea and a delightful conversation. Unfortunately, when my second friend stopped by bearing birthday gifts for my daughters, I forgot my manners and never offered her a drink.
To avoid another social faux pas, today I set up a drink station. During the holidays the opportunity for visitors increases and I want to be ready to offer a cup of politeness when they happen to stop by. Last holiday season I set up a drink station complete with always ready hot water. It worked so well, especially on days when I was busy with a house full of relatives, everyone was able to prepare their own drinks.
The drink station also worked well for when sledders returned indoors with rosy cheeks and frozen fingers. The hot cocoa was ready and waiting. If you keep Styrofoam cups at your station, a cup of something warm is a perfect exchange for the package the UPS driver just handed you.
Set up an electric container for hot water. Fill jars with tea, hot cocoa and spiced cider packets. Have jars of marshmallows, sugar, honey, agave nectar, and spoons. Having your ingredients already set up may even encourage you to pour a cup of something hot and sit and relax for a moment.
Create a thankful jar
Often when we think of thankfulness we think of the Pilgrims. Brave and resolute, the Pilgrims seemed to have little to be thankful for. Over half of them died during the first winter. Yet, for the Pilgrims, the harvest was a time for thankfulness. People who live with an attitude of thankfulness are people who live with the result – pleasure.
Use this time of year to write down something you are thankful for. Place your slips of gratitude into a jar to be reviewed on Thanksgiving or on any day you might be feeling a little less appreciative. Recording why you are grateful and recalling it later is a simple way to increase your awareness of the blessings that surround you.
Make bags of joy
On November 1, my husband was on the sale aisle stocking up on Halloween candy. Even if you missed the sales, the stores are full of Christmas candy perfect for out next pleasure. Each year I make bags full of candy to pass out. I make a party out of it and together with friends we talk and laugh and fill bags with candy. I then fill a box with my bags and place it in my car. Whenever I go out during the holiday season, I stick a few bags in my purse before heading into the store, bank, restaurant or post office. Cashiers, tellers, waiters, postal workers and bell ringers all become the recipients of my little bags. Inside along with the candy I place a little poem that I wrote to encourage the weary worker and wish them a Merry Christmas.
I have seen so many faces light up just from receiving a small bag of candy. People are truly thankful and it gives me such joy to pass them out. I’ve had such fun giving bags to customers behind me in line when they comment on the bag that I give the cashier. I feel a little like Santa.
Make your own bags this year and instead of being a disgruntled customer 7th in line, realize that the cashier is probably not having much fun either. Whip out your yuletide candy bag and sprinkle a little joy at the checkout stand.
I also keep a basket of bags near my front door so that I can give them to delivery men. They are always surprised and happy. Look for opportunities all season long to spread a little bag of joy.
Join me all season long as we discover the simple pleasures of the holidays.
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