A December to Remember
I spend a lot of time on Instagram; that’s a fact.
I collect inspiration there, build relationships with other makers, bloggers, and members, as well as nurture, ‘non-virtual’ relationships with family and friends. One of the features I most like about Instagram (IG) is the ability to make “collections” (these are like Pinboards on Pinterest).
In December, I started an Instagram collection of posts I bookmarked, entitled ‘Affirmations’.
Affirmations, (for me), are simply positive words I like to live by. I choose one, a ‘mantra’ for my day; words I can repeat to myself, to keep me focused on what is important to me that day, goals I might have, or particular skills I need to achieve those goals.
I have a board of other people’s affirmation pins in my Pinterest account, as well as a box of affirmation cards by the late self-help guru, Louise Hay.
Affirmations, I have learnt, are something that might appear to be an odd practice at first, but have become something I need, as an integral part of my daily, and especially my morning routine.
In December, a fellow Instagramer posted the following words in their IG feed:
“Make it a December to Remember”.
When I saw these words, I knew they perfectly represented the goals I had for the final month of the year 2017.
Tis the Season
December is a month I await eagerly every year, ever since I was a little girl growing up on the sub-tropical island of Bermuda.
My longitude and latitude may have changed drastically since those days, but the feeling of hope, the magic of the season, and the ultimate sense of ‘rightness’ in my world, at this special time of year, have basically remained the same.
At heart, I still wait eagerly for Christmas Day, when I can finally open my stocking and look under the tree to find out what ‘Santa’, has brung me this year.
Although the details have changed, I am still that little girl (living in a 36-year-old’s body) who has very specific expectations of what Christmas means to her; or in other words, what December means to her.
Christmas in Switzerland
For 13 years I have been a resident of Switzerland. In the beginning, and throughout most of my working life here, I returned practically every year to Bermuda to celebrate Christmas.
Since ‘settling down’ though, in both my new home and country, I have enjoyed more and more the idea of a White Christmas. (Although, even here in Switzerland, the weather rarely delivers, come the 24th & 25th of December.)
Over the years, I have learnt that I can indeed live without the massive, extended family, parties, held over the holiday season in Bermuda.
Don’t be mistaken, I do miss it all very much. However, I have learnt that I can actually live without seeing hordes of family and friends, eating 1000’s of calories worth of food, and most importantly, I can live without all of the generous gifts that were the norm in my youth, those of which I am extremely grateful.
Despite the physical and ‘maturity’ distances I have travelled over the years, I am happy to say that many of those gifts, I still have and cherish today.
As I’ve matured, the need for getting things has been replaced by the need for more meaningful moments.
The joy of getting lots of new and shiny things, has been replaced by the joy of giving things.
My understanding has grown, that as much as I love receiving gifts, it’s better to get something someone made for you, whether it be food, or something a person hand crafted…
… or simply hand selected, than things given without much thought about the reason for giving them.
I have learnt that sometimes, the most perfect gift is that of time, and not the fancy Tissot watch, you wear on your wrist.
Over the years, I have come to realize that, although I may not be with certain family and friends, they are still in my heart throughout Advent and the holiday season.
As I stir up a batch of my oatmeal cookies, write my shopping lists, sweat over a traditional Christmas dish, and of course when I unpack/pack away my Christmas decorations, I remember the people and places, that they represent for me.
People like my mother, aunts or God mothers who traditionally gave me a particular type of Christmas ornament, or who surprised me with something completely unique, collected at a local craft fair or on their own travels.
Sometimes, it’s the ornaments I purchased myself at Christmas markets or on other travels, with specific members of family, that bring on the memories, even non-Christmas related memories, that are just connected to a particular place and time where or when the ornaments were purchased.
At 36, I now realize that, I may not be able to sit beside my mother’s, now, elaborately decorated tree on Christmas morning, but I will be able to gaze proudly at my own, smaller and humbler Weihnachtsbaum.
And I will know that my mother has been my ultimate inspiration for Christmas entertaining and decorating, and that her spirit is in all that I may do, or (in this year’s case) not do in the way of Christmas (tree) decorating and entertaining.
This year, 2017 (meanwhile, after many edits, 2018), is a very important year for us.
It is the year our tree, has shrunken to a much smaller, and more manageable size, and with it, my expectations for a perfect, majestic beauty, reaching to the heights of our vast upstairs living room, where we usually enjoy it as we sit and watch TV.
This is the year, that rather than rush to buy and put up the tree, at the earliest chance possible, we waited until the last minute, because we simply didn’t have the time to decorate it earlier.
The tree that we chose this Christmas, (that I saw standing tall, in a stand, at our local Christmas tree farm, and immediately fell in love with), was calling our name.
It was whispering secrets of how things would be in the future, and how things would run this Christmas.
It was telling me, how instead of all the glitz and glamour, I needed to slow down and take joy in the little things, that happened to bless me and my husband this year.
It taught me to accept help from others, and simply let be what will be.
That although certain things may appear to be very important to my physical, financial, mental, and/or spiritual well being, that in fact they are not as important as originally believed to be.
Instead, what is important is:
- the time you take for yourself, to rest and relax.
- the time you take to learn and grow.
- the time you take to reflect and contemplate.
Not to mention:
- the people you surround yourself with.
- the time you take with those people you most love.
Because, at the end of the day, you will be happy with even the smallest of trees, decorated in the shortest of time, by the one you love.
You may not have gotten the pleasure of having done it yourself, but instead you discovered the joy, of having someone give you the most unexpected of gifts, the gift of love and understanding.
Understanding what’s in your heart, and your need for those pretty little traditions, despite the physical ailments and shortcomings you might be suffering on that particular day.
In addition, this little Christmas tree, taught me:
- how to trust in others
- that those little sparkly and not so sparkly ornaments, are more than a piece of tin, Austrian crystal, or felt, sewn together with love.
That those little ornaments, hanging delicately from the branches, represent:
- time spent together with loved ones
- new and old friends and family who share a passion for all things homemade
- fellow creatives, who believe in the power of pretty things and the appreaciation for traditions and keepsakes.
So you see:
The lessons this ‘little’ tree has taught me, are many.
Perhaps, next year, I will go back to my old ways where Christmas decorating is concerned; but, by the time I pick up a certain clay ornament, to hang it on the Christmas tree branches, I will remember the lessons of a year ago.
The year of two people sharing their blessings with good family and friends, however and wherever they could. Sharing ups and downs of a very special year. Embarking on as many little and sometimes big, adventures as possible. And all in preparation, for one very special little person.
Final Reflections of 2017
Gazing at that beautiful tree every time I pass it, I can say that yes, I have indeed lived A December to Remember.
And looking back at 2017, it is clear to me, that it has also been a year to remember.
One of ups and downs.
One of gratefulness in all that I was given, or experienced. Be it time, love, memories or heartfelt gifts, and even those times, that I was given the chance, to share a little bit of someone elses burden, heartache and/or inner most feelings or troubles.
Because sometimes, life’s worries or troubles are just too heavy to bear on one’s own.
Thank You’s for 2017
Many thanks to readers out there, who have offered me support in any of my endeavors this past year, whether here on my blog, or on other social media platforms, or even ‘in person’.
No matter who you are: family, friends, followers or even relative strangers, let me express my heartfelt thanks for all that you have given or shared with me, big or small.
I wish you and yours, a happy and healthy 2018, filled with many blessings, big and small.
Wishes for 2018
It is on that note, that I wrap up December and reflect on, a beautiful and blessed 2017. One that has taught me so much, not only about myself, and the people I choose to share my life with, but also about humanity as a whole and the world we share with one another.
I am not quite decided on my goals for 2018, nor have I chosen a word for the year, or even an affirmation to guide my days, but I know this: that the focus will be on Family, Home, Work and Life.
Sure I may need to concentrate on one particular area, more than others, but I will try to remember, that each of these areas are necessary, for my own mental, physical and spiritual well-being and only when I take care of (at least some of) those other needs, will I be able to take care of the needs of others.
Glimses into our December 2017
Above: Video of getting in the Christmas spirit in the Home Sweet Dreaming household. Music by Kasey Musgraves. Off-key humming by Jodie Zollinger. Obsessed Kasey Musgraves fan: Yves Zollinger.
Above: Video of the Spengler Cup 2017: Hockey Match December 26, 2017- 1st Match of the Season. (Footage taken on Samsung Galaxy 7 by Jodie Zollinger, as are other videos listed.)
Glimses into our Holiday Season 2018
Maestrani’s ‘Chocolarium’ Chocolate Factory, Flawil, SG, Switzerland – Chocolate making class.To visit their website click link here.
Links & Contact Details
To finish, I thank you, for reading this post. Should you have any questions or comments I would be pleased to hear them.
If you would like to share with me your own personal wishes or goals for 2018 or reflections about your personal 2017, I would be more than honored to hear them.
Please do not hesitate to connect with me…,
…either here on the blog or by one of the following methods:
Private Contact Details
Instagram : Direct Message @homesweetdreaming Follow link here.
Facebook: Jodie Zollinger on Facebook Messenger Follow link here.
Jodie (& Yves) Zollinger
CH-9402 Mörschwil (Moerschwil)
For What’s App, Skype, mobile and phone details, please contact me personally by one of the above methods.
Public Contact Details
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