Soon, we will become inundated with catalogues encouraging us to make choices for holiday-themed giving, eating and living.  The pictures will encapsulate perfect place settings, families around a fireplace with green things and sparkles; everyone will be smiling and the sense of abundance will be clear. There is a lot of encouragement to “get the house ready for company”, plan outfits for the holiday- themed cocktail parties and create an interior and exterior that binds it all together.

When I think of the holidays for myself and the year’s end, I meander back in my mind to the experiences I had.  Yes, the food, atmosphere and people are there, but I mostly think about how I felt.  What moved me.  And what do I want to experience this year.

I think my favorite New Year’s Eve was my first one with my husband when we went to a Kurosawa film with subtitles.  I was so in love with him I just didn’t care that it was three hours long and we had not had dinner. I just wanted to be there. With him.  The holiday events that stand out for me are when I was in church on Christmas Eve and it started to snow; when my siblings and I drove miles to surprise my mom on Christmas Eve and stand through a high Mass so she could look up and see us;   my first Hanukkah and Christmas with my husband;  the delight in my children’s eyes when they really got that there was a special event happening and it was all theirs.  I remember not eating turkey for Thanksgiving and then eating turkey for Thanksgiving; doing elaborate table settings and entertaining and some years, honing it down to what really mattered. The people. The pleasure. The connection. With no frills.

This year, I want all of us to take care of ourselves.  To create the experience that we want. To create the environment that will support us.  To create a memory of good will and gratitude for ourselves and to create  the catalogue, the choices, the pictures that work for us. To be clear and defined and inclusive all at once.  And to experience joy as it  unfolds.

Whether you are alone, in a crowd, at a setting you love or not, the deep appreciation of all of who you are is all that matters. When you are in that  place, that internal design, you can experience wonder and you can appreciate  people for exactly who they are and events for exactly what they are because you are there with yourself. For yourself.  And you got there by taking care of your needs and your desires and your wishes.  You will be enveloped in richness and the gold in your life will surface.  All around you.