Beauty and magic reside in the smallest of moments. Instead of focusing on the holiday (and the upcoming year) as a whole (and possibly feeling disappointed or frustrated or yearning for perfection), consider paying attention to the morsels. Consider paying attention to the sweet moments you usually miss.
The look on your child’s face when they see snow. The cookies you’ve baked with your family from scratch (or sorta from scratch). “White Christmas” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” and other Christmas classics. The way the tree sparkles at night. Your reflection in the shiniest ornaments. Your father’s laugh. Your partner’s hugs. Your cat’s visible annoyance with the decorations.
Hot chocolate with massive marshmallows. Music that shatters your soul. Stars that feel closer just for tonight. Tasty takeout. Comfy pillows and soft blankets and warm pajamas. Holiday puzzles, ginger bread house decorating and ugly Christmas sweaters.
A walk with loved ones. A silly joke between friends. A splash of perfume that makes you feel stunning. Your favorite food. A whisper of I love you. A whisper of Thank you. That means the world to me. A game of dolls and toy cars on the floor. Morning yoga. Mom’s pancakes and eggs.
A book that stays with you, and sentences you jot down on napkins because they’re so good you grab whatever is handy. Pine cones, place mats and red plates on your table. Candles that smell of trees, snow, apple pies and memories. Kids that can’t stop talking about Santa’s arrival. Cards with the kindest words.
Use your senses to savor these teeny tiny yet extraordinary moments. Write them down. Sketch them. Photograph them. Talk about them with your loved ones. Breathe them in. Inhabit them.
There may be many, many bitter moments, too. Empty chairs. Lonely hearts. Disappointment. Disagreements. Exhaustion. Unmet expectations. Misunderstandings. Sickness. Sorrow. Shallow breaths. Tears. These are also important to notice, to feel, to honor.
After all, life is bittersweet. Which is OK, and even good. As Shauna Niequist writes in Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are, “Bittersweet is the idea that in all things there is both something broken and something beautiful, that there is a sliver of lightness on even the darkest of nights, a shadow of hope in every heartbreak, and that rejoicing is no less rich when it contains a splinter of sadness….Bittersweet is beautiful, nuanced, full of depth and complexity. Bittersweet is courageous, gutsy, earthy.”
Savor the different moments that make up your days this season. Honor the beauty and heartache. Honor your feelings and honor what is true. Honor the bitter, the sweet and everything in between.
What have you been savoring this weekend? What do you want to savor this season and beyond?