Happy Thanksgiving. This American tradition is one of my favorites. An entire day devoted to giving thanks. What a simply beautiful concept.
I’ve worked retail for many years and have always enjoyed having Thanksgiving Day as the calm before the storm of holiday shopping truly begins. Slow and peaceful, I love this special day reserved for presence and gratitude.
Since I'm currently a bit obsessed with all things Eckhart Tolle, I'm going to take today to continue reading The New Earth and focus on the Now.
Regardless of your heritage or nationality, I hope today finds you thankful.
Take this opportunity to pause before the start of the crazy season ahead.
Remember what really matters to you and vow to make plenty of time for that...now and in the coming weeks.
Thank you for being here. This community feeds my soul. I’m so grateful to each and every one of you for reading my words.
What are you most thankful for today?
Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving.
I've been receiving lots of requests to re-open Wake-Up Your Wardrobe. Seems many of you weren't ready in September...but you are now.
Some women tell me they want a crash-course, wardrobe wake-up call before the holidays! (it can be done:-)
Others have asked about giving the course as a gift.
So, The Together Act Academy is having a Black Friday Sale!
Check your inbox tomorrow for details....
If you’ve left your house, collected your mail or turned on your television recently, you’ve probably seen it. It’s been happening for the past few weeks. Gradually at first. Now it’s full-blown. In countries where Christmas is celebrated, retailers are all decked out in their holiday finery. It’s about to become 'the most beautiful time of the year'...and for many, the most stressful and frenzied.
When I was growing up, Thanksgiving was the line in the sand. Holiday decorating did not begin prior to that famous fourth Thursday in November. The following day, known affectionately as Black Friday (because it was always the day that put a retailer’s financial books back into the black) was first beginning of the holiday madness.
It seems that the holiday hubbub hits earlier every year. Stores begin stocking holiday merchandise in October...or even September. Halloween goods now share the floor with Christmas gifts and decorations.
I’ve worked retail my entire life. I’m quite comfortable being surrounded by ornaments and garland at work, long before I even consider unboxing those items at home.
I love the holiday season and all of its splendor...but I don’t love the imposed urgency that all of the holiday marketing creates within me.
For many years, I bought into the entire holiday frenzy.
I was strongly influenced and overwhelmed by the advertisements and displays.
I always felt I was behind the holiday eight ball...in my planning, my shopping, my decorating, my wrapping…
I allowed the outside ‘pressure’ to make me feel like I wasn’t living up to my holiday potential.
Then something happened...
A few years ago, our family’s financial situation took a sudden, dark turn in early November. We found ourselves in a new and very scary place just as the holiday marketing madness started.
I had no choice but to take a step back.
I knew I would not be ‘buying’ into the holiday purchasing frenzy that year. I simply couldn’t afford it.
Lots of deep breaths and hot tears later, I realized something simple yet profound…
It is the marketer’s job to make me feel the Christmas crazies! They benefit (mightily) from inducing a purchasing panic in shoppers as the season approaches.
There’s a human psychology at play that I’d been missing for years. The role of the retailers and advertisers is to make us truly believe that we need it all!
We must shop earlier and later.
We must buy sooner and more.
We must decorate until we don’t even recognize our own homes.
Well, the truth is...we really don’t have to do any of that.
During that financially frightening time, I learned a lot.
I discovered that I can do the holidays my way. I don’t have to follow the masses or keep up with the Jones’.
Some years, Christmas is sparse and minimal and others it’s more plentiful. But it can always be abundant.
I now realize that I more fully enjoy the holiday season when I don't become caught up in all the trappings.
Want to experience a calmer, more authentic holiday season?
1. Schedule at least one date with a friend. It’s easy to say you're too busy during the weeks leading up to the holidays...but you control that busyness. Spend an hour or two with a friend who feeds your soul. It might be the best gift you receive all season.
2. Don’t accept every invitation. Just because someone wants you at their gathering doesn’t mean you have to go. Say a gracious ‘no’ to the invites that just don’t fit onto your calendar...or into your heart.
3. Choose the things you really love about the holidays and deep dive into those. For instance, I love to wrap presents. I now schedule and carefully guard the time I spend wrapping gifts. The act is soothing and peaceful for me. I don’t like Christmas cookies, so I stopped attending cookie exchanges and baking for the holidays. Two of my kids enjoy baking and have happily taken on the task of creating seasonal desserts.
4. Share the love. ‘Tis the season for giving. Find ways, big or small, that you can give back or pay it forward. Carry a pouch full of change to drop in the Salvation Army bucket. Feed a parking meter to keep a fellow shopper from getting a ticket. Donate your time. Buy a small gift for a giving tree. Then, pause and really enjoy how awesome it feels to spread good cheer.
5. Spend wisely. In an effort to cut expenses and reduce waste, I’ve stopped sending Christmas cards. Now I share our family’s photographic cheer through email or social media. Saves money and the planet. Works for me.
6. Buy what they want. I love to shop for gifts and in the past have gotten carried away. I now stick to a wish list. In an effort to keep our home free of clutter, I’m careful not to buy things that are cute or fun, but not really wanted or needed by the recipient. I don’t feel the urge to fill up the space under the tree with more stuff. We spent a long time purging and tidying...I definitely don’t want to do that again!
7. Get clever. If there's something you can create that makes a wonderful gift, do it. Just be sure you are enjoying the process and the ‘making’ isn’t making you crazy. Or give an experience...lunch with a friend after the holidays, a walk in the snow, a movie date.
8. Spend cash. I learned way too late how fabulous it feels to have a cash only holiday season. Go small. Stay intentional. There is something beautiful about a January free of credit card statements.
9. Decorate within your personal limits. I like a house that twinkles during the holidays. I love greenery. I rely on white lights and candles to create a festive glow and I always ask for a big pile of the discarded greens when we buy our Christmas tree. I use those pine clippings to craft a simple wreath for the front door and to line the mantel.
I don’t like to completely redecorate our home to make room for Christmas. So, I'm choosy about what I display. I've recently purged any holiday decor that didn’t spark joy. Now I enjoy a few amazing pieces that make me and my family really happy.
10. Take time to recharge. Whatever that looks like for you...make it happen. A bubble bath. A cup of tea in a cozy chair. A 30-minute break to read or nap. In this season that’s all about giving to others, be sure to give something to yourself.
I hope the start of this holiday season finds you calm and relaxed.
Don’t get lost in what doesn’t matter to you. Stay true to yourself and do the things that will truly bring you joy over the next six weeks.
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How do you stay chill throughout the frenzy?
What’s your best tip for finding peace during the holiday madness?
Please share what works for you!
Thanks so much for reading.
We are getting very close to 'the most wonderful time of the year'. Working in retail means that the holiday season arrives way ahead of schedule. Some years it seems to come too early, but this year, I'm ready! Our weather has been incredible. Still sunny and above 60 most days. Somehow that makes the darker afternoons and pending holiday madness easier for me to handle...and even embrace.
I’m overwhelmed by the incredible new merchandise arriving daily. If you aren’t aware, I am the Personal Stylist at Anthropologie in Boulder, Colorado. That's our window in the photo above. I'm thrilled to work for such a special retailer...especially in November and December.
Oh, the sparkle and shimmer of it all!
I wanted to share a few of my current favorites...please remember that anytime I post about a product, it’s because I truly love it! I'm not compensated for sharing and I'm not an affiliate for any retailer.
When I find something good, I want you to know about it.
Seems only fair:-)
Okay, here’s what I’m loving at Anthropologie...and this time I included an amazing item from Free People! (after all, they’re our sister-store)
I will definitely do another ‘faves’ post as the holiday season really gets underway...but for now these pieces top my list of must haves!
Decorative Tabletop Tree - small $34 /large $54
These trees arrived at our store yesterday. I knew I couldn't/shouldn't wait. I purchased the small one at the end of my shift. The branches are wire so you can arrange them as you like. It looks so real and so magical at the same time! These won't last long. I think this little tree is the perfect dose of holiday sparkle. I'm not sure where I'm going to display mine...but it'll be the highlight of the space. If you want one, don't delay too long. These will sell out!
Soft-Brushed Gingham Throw - $68 50"x70"
In my quest for bringing more luxury into my home, I've been paying more attention to textiles. I recently discovered this beauty. Wow! Incredibly soft and cozy...and well-priced. I'm considering a change in color scheme just so I can incorporate this throw into my home. A welcome gift for someone on your list. Or for you:-)
Winter Wonder Candle - $18 in Balsam and Cedar by Illume
Want to bring the smell of fir trees inside? This is your candle. Oh, my! This is the best one I've found for capturing that wonderful, icy cold pine fragrance. I haven't purchased this one yet. I'm trying to use up my fall scented candles first. I hope they burn fast...I'm ready for the next season of wax.
Boulangerie Jar Candle - $18 in Espresso
Staying with the candle category... I'm about to purchase my first espresso scented candle. I love coffee and the aroma of freshly ground or brewed coffee, but I've never burned this scent in my home. Well, that's about to change. Here's why...I recently had three different customers tell me that they burn this espresso candle and the cult favorite Capri Blue Volcano candle together! Apparently, the fragrances mingle and create a synergy of scents! As the Personal Stylist, I figure the least I can do is try it myself so I can better serve my customers;-)
Tied Camo Crops - $118 by Sanctuary
I recently purchased these pants. They are super comfortable and very flattering. The color is much more military green in person and they are not this cropped on a person who's 5'6''. My wardrobe needed these! I plan to keep wearing them right into winter with booties and maybe some cozy socks.
Glistened Skinny Scarf - $28
I just wore this scarf for the first time. I love it! So chic and simple. Great price. Perfect to spice up a simple top or sweater. Just the right amount of sparkle for the holidays and beyond.
Arctic Fox Sweater - $128 (this item is from Free People )
This sweater is crazy good! Several of my co-workers own it in more than one color. It's soft, slouchy and sexy in all the best ways. Awesome zipper detail in the back. I don't think the photos do it justice. I prefer the dark gray (black) or the pink...but all four shades are beautiful. The moss green is much prettier in person...and much greener).
I hope this list of my favorites brightened your day.
Remember, it's the job of the retail industry to try and work you into a holiday panic...don't fall for it!
Relax and enjoy the season. No need to feel frenzied. It's all good!
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Hello, I'm Kristen.
As a personal stylist,