I made my annual trip to the mall yesterday. I’m not much of a shopper, and I avoid the mall as much as possible. If I can buy all my Christmas presents at local stores or online, I consider it a personal achievement. However, there are always a few gifts that force an excursion to the mall. (Cue: feeling of impending doom.)
We had been there for about two hours when I turned to my husband and said, “If I die and go to Hell— ”
“—which you know you are,” he said.
“Yes, well…Hell will be all this.” I nodded my head towards the crowds of people around us: the slow walkers, the slouching teenagers, the screaming children, the angry mom with the baby carriage steamrolling straight towards us, “It will be a mall just filled with humanity.”
Needless to say, I’m not big on crowds. And I was not feeling the holiday spirit in that moment, nor was I feeling very creative.
It is difficult to feel creative this time of year. There aren’t enough hours in the day. You’ve probably set aside your creative projects to take care of the cooking, baking, shopping, and wrapping.
If you’re feeling drained creatively, it is important to remember that an important phase of creativity is observation. It is watching and listening. It is remembering and reflecting.
So, in my own effort to connect and breathe, please allow me to share my favorite observations and memories. Here are a few of my favorite things:
- The sound of ice skates swooshing around an outdoor skating rink.
- White lights wrapped around every tree in sight.
- Tapping our toes to Christmas music.
- The scent of pine, cinnamon, and vanilla.
- Christmas carolers.
- Hot chocolate.
- A purple sky and the crisp smell of a pending snowfall.
- A frozen tree shimmering in the moonlight.
- A quiet night of snowfall. Is it is so quiet, I can hear snowflakes land.
- Listening to Holy Night at a Christmas concert. Holding my husband’s hand.
- Candles lit in church.
- Sitting with my family around the fireplace. Sipping coffee, talking, sharing, and laughing.
- Walking into my grandparents’ home and seeing them at the top of the stairs, ready with a warm hug.
- Pans of lasagna.
- Tea in treasured teacups.
- Seeing my nieces and nephew discovering lifelong friendships in their cousins.
- Walking with my family through the woods on the day after Christmas. Snow crunching under our boots. Our dog running ahead…happy trot. Exploring.
I hope you will take time to reflect on your own favorite moments.
Take a step back.
Take it all in.
Observe and breathe.