The most exciting part of the Christmas holiday for me is the preparation leading up to it. So I really try to enjoy and make the most of all the aspects of the preparation: decorating, sending out cards, the gift shopping and wrapping, making Christmas cookies, the food shopping and cooking, watching Christmas movies, sharing time with friends and family, and my absolute favorite, listening to Christmas music 24/7 beginning the day after Thanksgiving. However, the preparations actually begin somewhere around the middle of November when I set up two catering tables and the groundwork for my Winter Wonderland Village. This officially begins my Christmas Holiday preparations. I always feel like I’m so on top of things when I start the process. However, here we are with 4 days before Christmas Eve and I’m still running around busily finishing up items on my to-do list.
I will admit there are moments in the overall process in which I may become a little overwhelmed. But I remind myself of my mantra, “It will all get done”. And when people ask me how far along I am in my preparations, I always respond with an upbeat comment like “I’m almost there!” This response seems to surprise the person and then they enthusiastically offer a positive and congratulatory comment, which in turn inspires me to continue on.
I started collecting these Department 56 houses in the early 90’s. One Christmas, my husband gave me the train set as a gift. The backdrop is an oil painting that my father commissioned from a Colombian artist named Deisy Varela. She used a photo I had taken in the Rocky Mountains of Crested Butte, Colorado.
I love to turn off the room lights, turn on the village lights, and sit near the village. I can feel the magic of the season as I transport myself to my miniature winter wonderland. I can almost feel the winter chill in the air and the shimmering snowflakes falling. I can sense the tranquility of the snow-covered mountains with deer and moose roaming. I envision the people in the village’s main square caroling and shopping. The skaters and skiers provide entertainment. The train makes its rounds sounding its bell and whistle. The lights on the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree twinkle. Then I look to the warm hue of the lit houses. I can almost hear the crackling fires roaring in the stone fireplaces and feel the coziness of a home in the winter. Oh, and if you look real closely you’ll see Santa making toys in his North Pole workshop.
So happy holiday preparations to all! Take time to enjoy the season. Take a break, eat a Christmas cookie, do an act of kindness, sit in front of your Christmas tree or village (I recommend squinting your eyes – it makes the lights shimmer), and turn up the volume of the holiday music! And remember if you are feeling a little overwhelmed repeat “It will all get done.” Besides you still have 4 more days to enjoy. Remember, this is the fun part!