04 December 2011

Finding Festive Spirit in an Empty Space

The garland has been hung; the candles have been lit; I've added a touch of sparkle to every room in the house; and, another re-organizing project has been completed amidst this year's Christmas decorating.

Hello readers and fellow bloggers, I have returned from many months of juggling a blossoming business and attending to a handful of house guests . . . just in time to reorganize my entire house for the holidays.

I am - as you might have guessed - one of those people that do not walk away from a project until it's completed, even if that means skipping meals and turning off my DROID for the day, and this project was no different. I didn't let my focus be deterred until that last pretend present was perfectly placed underneath the tree.

However, I was fortunate enough to have my wonderful Grandmother (see Blog #2) here to help welcome the always daunting task of putting up my 7.5 ft. Christmas tree. She encouraged me to enjoy the act of decorating by putting up the tree one evening and waiting to finish the rest of the ornamenting the next day. It was because of her calming presence, and most likely her promise of a martini at Mastro's, that for the first time, I left a project unfinished for the night.

The next day, I sadly said goodbye to Grandma as she walked through the doors at John Wayne Airport, and then, hurried home to complete my unfinished project . . . and another project I hadn't planned on.

I cannot be the only one who feels like every year I take down those plastic bins filled with festive tchotchkies and wonder why the place from whence that stuff came in that land of lost things couldn't be a little more organized? I will have to admit, it feels a bit like Christmas just peeking inside those boxes of mysterious holiday objects, because you never know what you might find - especially if you like to hit the "after-holiday sales," and end up stuffing those items into storage until next year. Kinda fun? Yes. But the uncertainty of it all makes this OCDite dread decorating every year.

So this year, on Day 2 of putting up holiday party decor, I decided to completely reorganize my entire storage closet (which is like a small room, I might add) before any of those empty bins went back in.

Tip: Reorganize the space where you store your holiday trinkets BEFORE you put it away, or just reorganize any space to make room for more of whatever may come.

There is now plenty of space to neatly tuck away my collection of trees and nutcrackers when the holidays are passed, and adequate shelving left for any gifts I get that may fall within the "regift" category . . . if I did that, which I don't . . . unless I truly know that someone else would appreciate it more than I. Why wouldn't I want it to have its best home?

Anyway, I gave my OCD a full workout today, filling 2 city garbage bins with old Halloween costumes (like it will ever be appropriate for me to be a fairy again), random shoe boxes (I don't understand why I insist on keeping those? It's not like I ever return anything?), my rollerblades (do people still do that?), and boxes of business cards from like 2003.

It felt good to free myself of those items I'd left behind, and while I gazed into all the now open storage space, I smiled. Kind of like the past year of my life, I've walked away from those things and people that no longer suit me, and have made room for new moments and opportunities. The occurrences of 2011 have changed me and led me down a road that finally feels right. This year, I gave myself the gift of going in a different direction. I encourage you readers to make space for those memorable moments, too, and enjoy the holidays!

Festooned in our fur and what I like to call "happy fat" to make myself feel better, from my first year as a food writer, we thank you for reading.

Photography by Ralph Palumbo Photography~ralphpalumbo.com

Happy Holidays!

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