It�s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year�


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It�s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year�

By Sue Dickinson,

It�s time to be attacked the media with the message that if we only do __________, or only buy __________, it will be a picture perfect holiday. It seems to be the mission of everyone to create �special moments� that will finally make this the most wonderful time�

I�ll never forget the year I figured out how to create a picture perfect holiday. I planned a traditional meal of Roast Beef and Yorkshire pudding for Christmas dinner. Friends and family mingled around our house, enjoying cocktails and appetizers before the meal. As I surveyed our guests enjoying, Christmas music in the background, decorations shining brightly, I almost cried. The scene was �picture perfect.�


Then, the Yorkshire pudding caught on fire. The fire alarm drowned out the Christmas music, and rather than mingling amidst the beautiful decorations our guests were evacuating to the backyard.


I almost cried. What happened to my �picture perfect� holiday?


As we aired the place out with fans, our guests enjoyed more cocktails in the backyard.  Then, we finally sat down to our traditional meal of Roast Beef and Minute Rice. I glanced around the table, pulled my sweater closer (after all, the door was still open to let the smoke out, so it was a little chilly), and couldn�t help but reflect on how great the day really turned out.


I almost cried (what can I say, I cry a lot). Our friends and family were laughing and enjoying themselves despite the drama (maybe it was the extra cocktails?). One couple even tried the charred Yorkshire pudding. Okay, so the scene wasn�t perfect and probably wouldn�t make the next cover of Courier and Ives, but it was ours - and we made the best of it.


The month between Thanksgiving and New Years can be the most wonderful time of the year. How? The trick, I�ve found, is to step back from the media�s interpretation of a �picture perfect� holiday, and to concentrate on making the moment ours.  Here are just a few suggestions to start. 


First: traditional holiday baking. There are thousands of magazines this time of year describing all of the luscious cookies and treats we can bake for the upcoming festivities. I admit drooling over the delicacies on the covers as I stand in line at the store. I have even been guilty of buying the magazines, only to spend half of the day I�ve designated for cookie baking tearing the house apart trying to remember where I put them. Then, I discover you actually have to buy the ingredients, too. YIKES!


For those of you out there who are wonderful bakers and find a �picture perfect� moment spending the day in your kitchen measuring flour and melting chocolate pieces, I think that�s great and I hope that you pass your extras my way. For the rest of you, don�t fret. You, too, can make a moment.


The first step is to get in the right mood. Turn on the Christmas tunes and light a few cinnamon scented candles. Next, set out a beautifully decorated Christmas plate. Lastly, check to make sure no one is looking, and pull out the cookies you bought the night before from the grocery store bakery. Arrange on the plate and Oila! Enjoy your moment.


Second: Christmas Caroling. It�s lots of fun, but so hard to arrange the party. My solution - carol in you car! Again, the first step is crucial. Find a cassette tape or CD by a performer in your vocal range. I prefer Anne Murray, as she is a mellow tenor/alto, like me (except, she sings in tune�).


Second, make sure your windows are rolled up, even in warmer climates. The drivers around you will appreciate this thoughtful gesture.


Third, sing along, and don�t be shy. The louder you sing, the more effect your caroling will have. This �special moment� is even better if your kids are in the car to enjoy it with you. Although, the older they are the more chance they will think you are nuts. Too bad. They are probably right.


So you see, those picture perfect events that you see on commercials and in magazines are nice, but nothing compared to the moments you can create. Let�s keep our eyes on the target � to enjoy this most wonderful time of the year � and stop stressing over what we can�t achieve. Instead, let�s do what we can, and have a great time doing it. The result will be a wonderful � memorable � okay- probably � not � perfect � but � good � enough � moment.  And the best news � it will be all yours!


Copyright 2004


About the Author:

Sue Dickinson is a mom, a business woman, and the founder of, a web site and e-newsletter designed to celebrate the many facets of Mom - her family, her work, and her personal development. Sue is also the author of the recently released book: "What's a Mom to Do? Overcoming the Urge to Put Your Life on Hold", which can be purchased at www.Unlimited or at

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