Saturday, August 23, 2014

Rev Up those Engines --- ‘tis the Season!

"Kayla learning to feed herself"
If ever there were a good time to sell, it has to be from September through February. Each holiday trips quickly over the heels of another as the gift giving season draws near, and more product is sold during these few months than during the rest of the year put together.

I always tell myself I’m going to prepare early, and then I don’t. How do you get in the spirit of celebration six months in advance? Unemotional, logical retailers know the importance of stocking inventory for the seasonal rush. We should all take a tip from their play book!

Sometimes I allow competition to discourage me from creating Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas cards. I save my old cards from the previous year solely for ideas; but somehow, they never leave the drawer where they are stored.

(Chris and Lyla at Christmas)
I gloat over the online cards and kick myself for not following suit. Unfortunately, my passion-o-meter is running low. Without excitement for what you’re creating, the results usually fall flat.

I’m sure that the best remedy is to imagine and invent “while the iron is hot.” That means designing in your head while drinking hot cider or cutting fresh apples for a pie. The sights, smells and sounds of frivolity and fun just might be the edge you need.  You’ll stay ahead of the game and be ready for the upcoming season.

Then again, many people (like me) get depressed over the course of the holidays. The children are gone, the grand kids live far away in other parts of the country. I actually breathe a sigh of relief when the holidays are over. Give me routine and structure any day of the week. I’m fine with that. I’ve always been a workaholic. I thrive on stress and busyness.

I used to bake enormous batches of cookies and doughnuts and freeze them for giving away later to neighbors and friends. My creative drive was all used up in the process of making and baking. My own children helped frost the raised doughnuts I made. They loved dipping them in colored sprinkles, slivered almonds and coconut.

We made a gingerbread house together each year. The children placed small spiced gumdrops of red and green on the frosted roof and sprinkled red cinnamon candy on the white sugar snow. Their favorite part of the candy house was playing wrecking ball on the day after New Year’s. They smashed and devoured the crunchy pieces of frosted cookie until they were stuffed.

Traditions bind us to each other. They remind us of our humanity and sameness. Joy gives birth when we honor those sacred ceremonies and share them with others. If I could capture that special feeling in a box, I’d have a winner!

In the meantime, I’ll continue to grapple with my self-inflicted quandary and hope my muse doesn’t take a much-needed vacation.