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It’s always around this time of the year when I pick up my well-worn copy of Simple Abundance: A Day Book of Comfort and Joy” by Sarah Ban Breathnach.

The pages almost instantly flip to December, where I read her words and let them wash over me.

December’s gifts — custom, ceremony, celebration, consecration — come to us wrapped up, not in tissue and ribbons, but in cherished memories. This is the month of miracles. The oil that burns for eight days, the royal son born in a stable, the inexplicable return of Light on the longest, darkest night of the year.

Always this time of the year those words give me comfort.





I meditate on these words, willing them to enter my life and my mind as they should and not as all of the demands of others scream out in magazine pages, newspapers, blog posts and on Pinterest.

Perhaps it’s the crazy holiday sillies my girls seem to have suddenly picked up. They suffer from the giggles when they should be eating dinner, when they should be doing homework, when they should be cleaning up …

And so we have to keep reminding ourselves about these gifts, these precious miracles that despite all of their not-so-precious behaviors really are just as they should be right now in this moment.




I open the door. The gorgeous guest from afar sweeps in. In her hands are her gifts — the gifts of hours and far-seeing moments, the gift of mornings and evenings, the gift of spring and summer, the gift of autumn and winter. She must have searched the heavens for boons so rare. — Abbie Graham

No, the real gifts aren’t under the tree.

The gifts don’t just arrive in December.

The gifts are there when we wake up and are there when we go to sleep and yet we stay so focused on Those Other Gifts that we often miss them altogether.

And I don’t want to miss them.

So, with this idea of spreading a message of abundance to you this season — not through coupon codes or special Black Friday deals — I offer you the only gifts I really want to give to any really busy, hard-working family this year.

The gift of hours.

The gift of laughter.

The gift of smiles.

The gift of big hugs.

The gift of sweet, sloppy kisses.

The gift of breathing.

The gift of being understood.

The gift of feeling heard.

The gift of the sun rising.

The gift of the moon shining.

And the gift of simply being able to wake up even if for just one moment and notice all the gifts in front of us — the real ones that you won’t find under the tree this year but the ones that are already filling your heart.

What gifts are you finding that aren’t going to be under any tree or in any box this year?

photo credit: kisocci

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