This time of year it is not uncommon to feel, as Bilbo Baggins once put it, "like butter scraped over too much bread.”
We can get lost in the flurry of the season, one that is equally fraught with frantic energy (buy! buy! buy! do! do! do!) as it is the celebratory warmth of the year's end. Our nights can become quickly filled with one holiday party after another and our days with a string of errands and tasks that prepare us for the big festivities. While some holiday rituals are fun--like making tamales or scouting out that perfect gift for someone you love--they can also make us feel spread thin with little time for self-care. In other words, we have altogether too much noise and not enough quiet in our minds and in our lives.
I've been mulling this concept over as I unwind from a hectic semester, stopping to enjoy an afternoon cup of my Winter Solstice Tea after a day of tea blending and present wrapping. The semester had been a difficult one, and I often felt "like butter scraped over too much bread." I had overworked, given out too much, and felt as if I had nothing left for myself. I didn't feel the light, joyful energy of the season, but a profound need to turn inward into my books and crafts, to tend my plants and develop new recipes.
The week after the semester ended was filled with long days tinkering in the kitchen--whipping up body butter and homemade mascara one day, making tamales with family another. There have been the holiday scones and bizcochitos scenting the kitchen with ginger and anise seeds; there have also been the lazy not-sure-what-to-cook-for-dinner meanderings and the welcome evening melody of a well-shaken martini being poured into its glass.
My afternoons were filled with yoga and naps, my evenings with bubble baths and novel reading. The week was spent doing what I absolutely love--tinkering in the kitchen and drinking tea with old movies playing in the background. I didn't think of grading papers or other work demands. I didn't think of rushing out to run this or that errand. I simply played in my kitchen and got lost in novels. And today, in the quiet of my home, the air smelling of warm beeswax from my body butter and pine from the holiday tree, I find that I no longer feel "like butter scraped over too much bread.” I feel light. I feel full. I feel me again.
This experience has taught me that there is no replacing the magic of self-care, the quiet time we take for rejuvenation and reflection, or the time spent dallying with family in the kitchen. These things are the real meaning of the winter holidays.
As I linger over my morning coffee and get ready to meet my mom for an afternoon of cooking our traditional posole feast for Christmas Eve dinner, I wish you and yours a mellow, rejuvenating holiday, full of the simple pleasures of the season.
Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational collection of musings touching on life’s simple pleasures, everyday enchantments, and delectable recipes that will guarantee to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe here.