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Christmas is a State of Mind

Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas”- Calvin Coolidge


As a searched for today’s quote I came upon this one by Calvin Coolidge. I thought to myself; EXACTLY!  That’s it! It’s not a month, or a day- Christmas is a state of mind. Wow!


It is my wish and prayer through this journey we can help each other create a state of mind where there is more peace, serenity and truer meaning this year. I find myself stopping as I write, as my brain keeps switching from full-time working Christmas person to retired and have all the time in the world Christmas person. I start to write what I think are great thoughts and then my old, working brain takes over and says, ‘Could you have done that while you were out of the house working from 7-5?’ Humm…. Well……..


As mentioned, in another blog- I am a perfectionist. Somehow did get 95% done, but was it peaceful? Did I cherish my peace of mind? I wonder how much of the rushing, loss of sleep, and borrowing from Paul to pay Peter actually affected everyone around me. Especially Jimmy and Carley who had to tow a bigger rope during this crazy month. How valuable was that rope? Christmas morning was great- My students were sent home from school with gifts for their moms, bellies full from our holiday party, and excited to have a week off from school- check. All the presents neatly wrapped under the tree- check, cookies wrapped and ready to give- check, everybody getting what they wanted- check, the house looking beautiful- check. I love Christmas morning because I actually did sit back for an hour or two, truly enjoying the opening of the presents and the joy that is Christmas. For me, going to church early in the morning also helped boost my peaceful state of mind. But, as soon as the spell of Christmas morning was over… it was time!! I had only a few hours to finish preparing the meal for the soon to be here family. It’s like getting hit in the head to wake up! December for me was basically a rush of getting things done and rising to my crazy perfectionist mind set. Again, I did love it because it was all I knew. I had to juggle!


And then came retirement! Wow- so this is what Christmas is supposed to feel like! I was so much calmer last year as I had all the time in the world to do everything, I used to do in literally a quarter of the time. Retirement is a blessing as long as we stay healthy and appreciate that we made it this far. I never will take this gift for granted, or the fact that my husband works so hard to afford me this incredible gift.


So, let’s work on our state of mind this month, especially the full time Christmas moms. A state where we find a way to consciously be aware of our surroundings, our time, and the demands we put upon our selves. You know we are our own worst enemy. I look back now and I know I created most of the stress that went along with the holiday season. Too many gifts, too many expectations, and although I clearly know the true meaning of Christmas- I have to admit, it was pushed to the back on too many December days.


So today we work on our state of mind. What can we do to help us keep the focus this Christmas season on its true meaning- to cherish peace and good will, and to be plenteous in mercy? When I read the words peace and goodwill, I often think it refers to the world and what I can do to help the world. I really don’t think I can do much for my world being one person, especially with the world having so many huge problems these days. But I can control what goes on in my home to certain extent. I can be more aware of the peace and goodwill I give to myself and to those around me, for if I can continue to try to spread joy within my home, it is more likely that my family and I will carry that joy with us when we go out into the world, hopefully encouraging others to follow suit. So often I see people carrying joy, and they don’t even know they’re doing it. The holding of a door, someone picking up something you dropped, a salesman going above and beyond to help you find a certain item, or just them looking up from the register to say that they think what you bought is beautiful.


I can’t believe how much joy you get from strangers. My husband and daughter will tell you that I will talk to anyone and everyone( well, as long as they don't look like serial killers, Im not crazy you know! ). If I’m standing in line, I’ll make friends with the people in front of me or behind me, yes, to complete strangers. I have some of my best conversations standing online and the bonus is that time goes very fast. I’ve learned a lot from strangers standing in a line, mostly that there’s really nice people out there in the world. Just the other day someone in line told me what I was buying was $20 cheaper in another store, I saved $20 that day from a complete stranger! JOY!!!!


So, for today’s December Daily I’d like you to write a few words about what you can and hopefully will do to add more serenity and peace to your life this month. How can you give goodwill to yourself, as well as those around you?  What is one thing you can do to slow down and embrace the joy that is December. I would also like you to find a symbol, it can be anything, just something to put on your nightstand, the kitchen counter, even a bathroom sink. I would like you to take a picture of it and add it to today’s entry. If you are a working girl, I want you to tape that picture on your workspace. Something you will see each and every day that will remind you to cherish yourself and this beautiful season. If this object has special meaning, maybe write a sentence or two about it also. I'll show you mine tonight on the live, only because I'm still thinking about what to use. If this prompt doesn't have meaning for you or seems complicated you can write some of the ways you can enjoy Christmas this year the way a child does. 

 I want you to remember that this could be a life changing journal entry. Perhaps one day when your future generations are reading this, they will need to stop and hopefully slow down and remember what this season should be about also. It scares me to think what this world will be like 20 or 30 more years from now. The younger generations don’t even look up when they walk the streets, they text each other from across the room, and most can’t tell you the color of their friend’s eyes. How in the world are they going to see the magical Christmas lights sparkling all around them, will people even take the time to decorate like we do? Will there even be brick and mortar stores left for them to shop in?

 As much as we all dread going shopping this time of year, imagine not having it. Imagine not knowing what the sights and sounds of hundreds of people shopping in a busy mall sounds like. Teenagers out with their friends having the freedom they so long for, for a few hours, laughing and just being silly. The fun sounds of different clips of Christmas music changing in each store you pass. The excited and worried feeling of holding up the 10th sweater and asking whoever you’re with if they think the person it’s for will like it. All of this is part of the magic of Christmas. 

 As I write this, I now can’t wait to get to the mall, especially for that last minute gift a day or two before Christmas. I’m going to walk slower this year, take in the crowds, the lines, and for me, the joy of it all. It’s all about perspective, isn’t it? It’s all about living through each stage of life and the wisdom, you gain- and it’s all about how much time we all have left on this earth……..and how we choose to spend it.

PS- Dont worry, the blogs will get lighter.. favorite foods, traditions etc .. just want to get us in the frame of mind first..


I love you guys! You give me so much joy!

December 02, 2019 — Sallie Phelan


Laine Murphy

Laine Murphy said:

Beautifully put, Sallie. I know exactly what I will use. I really needed this reminder this year. I look forward to more of your writing.

Pamela Romano-Strickland

Pamela Romano-Strickland said:

Very nice…As a worker this is helping me try to slow down and really enjoy the season…I love all the get together’s and time spent with family…I am going relax and try to take it all in…Keep up the posts…they are great!!!

Amelia Sarno

Amelia Sarno said:

Sallie, oh how this rings true for me. I am always a whirlwind of things to do from before Thanksgiving to Christmas. I feel like I do get it all done every year but I stress over it all. The food, the gifts, finding ways to give to others. It all gets so crazy. I always wonder why we cram all the biggest holidays into tow months. Plus I have two birthdays in there. Halloween baby and a Christmas baby. I am trying to slow it down but the panic is setting in once December 1st comes. Thanks for your message and I hope to take it much slower this year.

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