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Comfort and Joy

During the Christmas Season LAST year, I had three new elements added to my life that added a lot of comfort to the Season.


You see ... two days before Thanksgiving I had a preventive double mastectomy and spent a great deal of time healing on the couch in my living room.


Sitting around is never my game, especially when there are lights to string and trees to fluff. Last year, however, I was off my game. A change of pace and focus meant finding comfort in things that required more receiving and less giving. Two of those things were my puppy (who spent his first Christmas with us) and a wonderful blanket.

Henry Darlington Egger is an apricot straight haired medium Goldendoodle. He laid at my feet and took my cues on playing and resting and provided solace as we watched the world bustle out the window. I sat under my faux fur throw, which was a thoughtful gift from my niece Ashley. It has become my favorite warmth inducing blanket partly because of it's softness, size, coziness and texture. It blends beautifully with the room décor and I love the person who sent it, which makes it more cherished.

The third holiday happening that created comfort in my life last year was the ribbon of Hallmark Christmas Movies that streamed 24 hours a day, seven days a week during my recovery. Waking up at all hours is a common post op occurrence and I discovered the Hallmark Channel while fighting a bit of insomnia one night as I looked for something to watch ... trying to relax.


The movies became reliable, joyful, entertaining diversions to a routine that was unfamiliar and a different pace than I was used to. Fast forward to this year and the tinge of excitement I felt when I saw the shows were back. It seems as though I am among throngs of fans, as social media is buzzing about the season's loved treasures. The Hallmark Channel is releasing 22 NEW movies this season, to be combined with the existing library of over 130.



As I have watched dozens of these shows, attention has been paid less to the predictable plots and more to why we love these stories. And if it is the aspirational qualities each movie holds....why can't we add a little bit of the Holiday magic to our lives in December or possibly always?


As a lifestyle brand owner, I have themes that run through each job we do. Hallmark has some key themes that make up the recipe that is their much-watched network. I think.... with a little focus and attention to detail, we can add some of their tried and true ingredients to our lives and spread the cheer to everyone we touch. Even if they don't appreciate the movies!


Step by Step: How to Bring the Hallmark Movies to Your Life at Christmas and Always

First:

Fix your hair. Start with a brush or a comb. Add some curls, product, and a fluff and your spirit will be lifted. If that is not enough, ear muffs, a head band, a cute hat or toboggan, or pulling up the hood of your outerwear will do the trick. Along with my surgeries, I have become a big fan of the professional blow out. I could not lift my arms over my shoulders for some time and I couldn't drive, so I walked up to my neighborhood salon where I would receive a wash, condition, head massage and blow dry/style. It is a holiday treat I highly recommend and a great way to experiment with a style you have wanted to try.


Second:

A little dab will do you. Brighten up your face with a hint of makeup. The characters in the shows, I do not believe, are overdone. Their look is a well defined brow, mascara, a swish of blush, and lipstick or gloss. If the weather of the season has your skin in a flux, a light moisturizer and a layer of foundation never hurts.


Third:

Put on an outfit. Let's face it.....the outfit has gone by the wayside these days. Clothes are not an outfit. An outfit is carefully chosen, coordinating but not too “matchy matchy” clothing, accessories, shoes and a handbag. All assembled in layers so colors, textures, patterns wrap you like a Christmas Present.


Fourth:

Outerwear. If it is cold outside, the outfit may not be enough. A coordinating coat, poncho, vest or jacket plus a scarf and gloves will prepare you for a busy holiday season. I remember the long wool coats my sisters and I would wear when we would dress up for a party or concert growing up. We saw the Obama girls as influencers in 2013 sporting J Crew and Kate Spade dress coats. I had hoped so much that girls would no longer feel the need to go to and from the Christmas Dance with bare legs and arms, but the trend did not quite take off with the teens I see dressed up for winter occasions. On the other hand, I attended a holiday party this week and while the weather was on the mild side, the coat rack was full of beautiful fur lined dress coats. I wore a vintage number myself and it made me feel warm and oh so lady like. Wraps have made the outerwear a bit easier for women to embrace and the finishing touch makes such a difference in not only pulling it all together but being comfortable in the cold.


Fifth:

Dress your kids up. Making the Christmas season special by following the outfit rule (#3) for your kids. I had a “Christmas Outfit” each year growing up. I vividly remember my plaid kilt skirt with a sweater, tights and boots worn to less dressy events and “the Christmas dress” which served for evening parties and dances. With three girls in our family, all my mother had to say was “go put on your Christmas outfit/dress” and there was no question as to how we would present. My son Charlie has grown up with the same tradition.


Sixth:

Put down the phone. It is rare that a cell phone makes an appearance in the Hallmark Christmas movies. Even though most of the characters have jobs and major responsibilities, their phones are not their focus, rather a way to quickly communicate with those they are connecting with in their story.


Seventh:

Have Conversations. Engage. There would be little plot if theHallmark story was that of texting and surfing. Instead, these movies show us a great deal of problem solving, talking it out, asking questions, getting to know those around us, telling people how we feel about them and generally connecting. Our communities could use a bit more of that for sure.


Eighth:

Show affection. Hold Hands. Hug it out. Sit close. Look your loved ones in the eyes. Just Love them. Love, after all, is the Reason for the Season. “God Loved us, So he Sent his only Begotten Son”


Ninth:

Decorate. I am amazed as to how many ways the Hallmark Movie sets have done garland, bows, presents, lights, wreaths, table settings, yard décor and more! It reinforces my attitude that anything goes for the Holidays. Just do it!


Tenth:

Fall in Love. Falling in love is different than just spreading love. If you are married, fall in love with your spouse. If you are dating, seek out magical experiences that can only be found at the Holidays and create memories, if you are looking for someone........ remember that everyone looks better around sparkling candlelight.


Fall in love with your home, your neighborhood, your favorite shops or a recipe. Fall in love with your kids, your family, your parents and your life. Look for the good in everything in your life and your will fall in love over and over again.


Enjoy the Holidays everyone, and if you have time, take in a Hallmark Christmas Movie or two.