i used to feel most invisible around the holidays, humming the song “cellophane man” from the musical chicago as i scurried about at warp speed. weeks or months ahead, i’d study magazines, take classes, make lists. wanting everything to look amazing, sound pleasant, taste scrumptious, and feel enjoyable. i wanted my family to oooh and aaah over the holiday trappings and traditions, and not just on that particular day – oh no. i wanted to hear rave reviews for months and months after The Big Day. they did pay the occasional compliment, but not nearly enough to satisfy me that they truly appreciated – or even noticed, for that matter – my efforts and energy.

with each passing year, i seem to be shedding the desire to impress (some would use the word “control”). i sold the turkey pan at a garage sale year ago. candles surrounded by treasures found on walks make what i now call stunning centerpieces. and i save money and space by avoiding magazines like the plague. i plan the big rocks, as stephen covey calls them, letting the chips fall where they fall.

are the holidays happier? more enjoyable? more memorable? i can’t say for sure, but i will tell you that some of the family legends recently added to our archives are entertaining and hilarious tales of amazing improvisation and resourcefulness. i can tell you that though i still sleep well at night during red letter events, it’s from tiredness, not bone-level exhaustion. and today, when they went for a walk up the falls and turned to smile and wave at me as i sat by the window watching, i felt incredibly loved and visible and fortunate.