Tis the Season to be Jolly…

Tree

Recently I toured my local Pier One Imports store (www.pier1.com) for holiday decorating ideas and got quiet a few good ones.  I decided to use the pictures I took on my Instagram and to write my blog about simple decorating ideas for the holidays to bring beauty to your home should your home be “on the market” for sale during the holiday season; but this morning as I was collecting my thoughts about what I had planned to say, I went back to where I was last Christmas.  I decided to share my real life experience along with some decorating ideas.  What better way to get to know me – Right?  So here goes… 

Being single with grown children during the holidays is not fun.  I remember the times when my kids were small and I made sure to make it all about the holidays for them.  Thanksgiving was always decided by going to my in-laws home for dinner.  My mother-in-law is an amazing cook, and we all loved her Thanksgiving Day meal.  Christmas Dinner was always at my house on Christmas Eve.  For 20 plus years, it was my Christmas present to my family and everyone was invited.  I am a firm believer you go back to the true meaning of Christmas.  I cooked the meal myself from the turkey to the rice to the tea – except with some help from my husband who was and probably still is an amazing cook.  He loved cooking the collard greens and supervising what I was doing – said with some laughter and aggravation.  HA HA.  Things have definitely changed in my life.  My children are grown and I am divorced.  I no longer live back home as I moved to Charleston to try to force myself to “get a life” because all I did was work back home.  My children have continued their ritual of going to spend Thanksgiving with their Dad and his family.  I go home to spend it with my family.  I am alone but surrounded by my siblings and their families.  Thanksgiving is not too hard on me because it is just a day of spending time with family and food.  Now Christmas is another story.  It is a lot harder. 

Last Christmas, I found myself without a place to go.  I am always invited to my parents home for any holiday event.  However,  you know and probably understand that as much as you love your siblings sometimes once a year is enough – again said smiling.  I wanted something more.  I wanted to be able to get in the car and drive to Asheville, NC to stay at the Grove Park Inn and have my Christmas dinner looking out the window at the beautiful autumn leaves surrounded by the beauty of the mountains and all the Christmas decorations.  Well, that is just a dream and not a reality, but it never hurts to keep it on your bucket list which is where it is for me.  As Christmas approached, my children informed me they were going to spend Christmas with their Dad and his family.  I was very disappointed as they had spent Thanksgiving with him already.  I know I live in the same town as they do and he doesn’t get to see them as often as me, but this was Christmas!  What could I say but okay I understand.  Even though I really did not, I knew it was the right thing to say.  I am a peace maker these days.  

With no where to go and nothing to do, I found myself trying to figure it out.  My small decorated tree beautifully lite to give me peace and joy was staring at me.  Was this it?  Was this my Christmas? I was able to get them to go to a Christmas service at church which did make me feel some sense of a victory.  So I took what I could get and made the best of it. Thinking about the traffic on the road and the 3 hour one way drive home I decided it would be best to get a hotel on Christmas Eve.  Even though, I have siblings who still live in my hometown, they have their families and grandchildren who they go to events for over the holidays.  I did not want to be in the way must less a charity case.  It ended up my youngest sister, Cathy, invited me to come join them for Christmas Eve dinner.  I had a wonderful time and spending it with her grandchildren was fun.  I still could not help miss my own children.  As I left to head to the hotel, I realized I had never been alone on Christmas.  What a terrible and weird feeling.  I had reached the time in my life where Christmas was just another day.  WOW – is this what happens when you get older?  

Christmas morning came and I packed up my small carry bag to head to my parents house to spend the day.  I decided to eat breakfast in the hotel before heading out.  As I walked into the concierge dining room to cook my waffle, I looked around at all the lonely people like me probably wondering how their life had led them to a hotel on Christmas morning.   I honestly felt like we were on “Misfit Island” in the Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer classic.  Where are our families?  Why are we in a hotel lobby together with strangers on Christmas Day?  Trying not to be super sad, I spoke up to say “Merry Christmas” hiding my tear filled eyes.  As soon as I said it, everyone began to say it back and to smile.  I had broken the silence of the icy room.  There was chatter and laughter now.  I realized that even though we love our family and we miss them when we are not together we have to find our jolly where ever we are.  It is not in a present.  It is not in a person.  It is in the true meaning of Christmas which is Jesus Christ.  I pulled my jolly from an emotional place in my heart.  I decided to share a positive expression of love with humanity.  Just something as simple as Merry Christmas changed the entire room.  We started talking about why we were in the hotel.  Where we were going that day and who we were going to spend it with.  The hotel was just a stop – a gap – in our time with our own family.  It was not the end of the world.  God puts us where he needs us.  Maybe for some weird reason he needed me in that hotel lobby having breakfast with strangers and reaching out to tell them Merry Christmas and God Bless Them.  Maybe it was to teach me I am never alone.  I don’t know what the reason was but I do know that I will go where God asked me to go.  Not only did that experience end up being a blessing for me but it was also a life lesson as well.  Christmas is in your heart.  Remember the reason for the season.  Reach out to those in need because I may be or you may be one of them – you never know what the future holds.

As promised, I have included some great pictures of simple holiday decorating ideas you can do at your own home.  As I mentioned before,  I am not creative but I can copy anything.  Displays in stores give you decorating ideas and how tos if you pay attention.

What about adding a holiday pillow and a red throw to your favorite chair?  Simple enough.  I also saw these sequin pillows which I love that were not too expensive and they can spice up your room.  Everyone loves a little bling sometimes.  Table decorations are huge during the holidays.  You can just set your dining room table with holiday ware to create that holiday feel – you are going to be eating anyway.  Why not enjoy your table setting long before your meal?  Pre-decorated Christmas Trees can be nice for anyone who is not the greatest at decorating a tree.  You can let the pros do it for you, but this may be pricey if you are on a budget.  Racks of Christmas colored greenery in a simple vase can also be a great way to pop up color in your room and not break the bank.  Get out and visit your local holiday shops for more decorating ideas.  I am currently loving the Instagram photos from the interior decorators.  They are posting lots of holiday ideas.  Just search interior decorating or interior decorators.

As the holidays approach, a wise word to anyone thinking of putting their home on the market to sell.  Do not and I repeat Do Not allow photos for internet marketing be taken of your Christmas Tree and presents.  Unfortunately, I think the bad people in this world look at online photos to plan to burglarize homes during the holidays based on how many presents are under the tree.  Thank the Lord this has never happened to any of my Sellers.  Always be careful about what you are putting out there on the internet.  Protect yourself and your family.  Christmas time is the biggest time for home break-ins.

Final word for today.  I pray a lot.  It helps me get through the day.  I pray to God for the things I need in my life – even Buyers and Sellers I can help.  Do not be afraid to ask God for what you need but do not forget you have to do your part to get it.  My current prayer is Peace on Earth.  What is yours?  God Bless!

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1 Comment

  1. Hi Cynthia, I hope your Monday is going well! I am sure it is hard being single with grown children. I can picture you making Christmas so special for your little ones, the amazement and wonder of them opening their presents . I feel for you having Christmas with your kids taken away from you. I think God put you in that hotel to be a beacon for those lonely people , to reach out and tell them God is with them always as you said. I love the fabulous decorating ideas, I too am not so creative but there is food for thought! I pray that my family stay healthy , and all those I love , the people who are forgotten at this time of year and are wishing for a hug and friendly smile to brighten their lives. God bless you Cynthia, Big hugs, Terri xo.

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