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It's the most wonderful time of the year!

If you know me, you know that I love to decorate for each holiday. (If only there were decorations for National Donut Day or Corgi Day!) However, with all the challenges of 2020, I just wasn’t feeling it this year. I couldn’t imagine enjoying pulling out the holly or stockings and faking Christmas cheer. But, I am nothing without my traditions, so despite my reservations, I pulled everything out anyway. And wouldn’t you know it? I felt the magic, warmth, and holiness of the holidays. And in hanging each ornament (many of them bringing up stories to (re)share with my kids and friends), I was reminded that nothing can take my joy unless I willfully relinquish it.

The hardships of this year can’t steal my joy, my gratitude, or anything else for another minute.

December can be a heavy month of grief for my family. We celebrate both a birthday and a death anniversary of our loved one, just a few weeks apart. I know what it’s like to feel melancholy during a time when I'm supposed to feel happy. While I don’t have any miraculous words, I will say that you’re not alone if you feel the pangs of loss or grief during this time. What helps me when I’m feeling less than joyful is to acknowledge and honor my feelings, but also choose to celebrate the holidays in a way that not only will force me out of my sadness, but also will help bring joy to someone else.

I love how the holiday season reminds me of what is truly important. For me, it’s gathering with friends and family; making time to sit together, laugh together, and make new memories. Whether your holidays are filled with caroling, baking cookies, cutting down your own tree, or writing out Christmas Cards, I hope you feel the warmth and magic this season brings. Friends, please don’t relinquish your joy or holiday spirit. Inside you there is a smile, a cookie, or Christmas card to be given away to bring a little cheer to someone else.

Merry Christmas, Sandy

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