I remember crawling under the Christmas tree as a small child, before the packages were in place. Those first few years we didn’t have lights on the tree, we had a spotlight under the plate glass window shining on the carefully placed ornaments. I remember the warmth as I edged closer to the light. I found myself mesmerized by the scene from every angle, taking in every sight and smell. The cookies, packages, and multi-colored lights circling the house were magical. Our home even felt kinder on those days. We saw relatives, laughed more, and ate until it hurt. To say Christmas was magical was not an understatement.

As a young wife, I felt the pressure of making holidays something to be envied. Instead of a spotlight on the tree, though, I often felt as if a spotlight was on me. Even worse, I tied my worth to my ability to wow a crowd. The most complicated food and the largest batches of cookies paired with my husband’s ability to decorate an impeccable house and a tree that would have put Martha Stewart to shame. Speaking of Martha, I subscribed to her magazines, borrowed books from the library, and rented her videos long before her TV shows began to air. It was my way of making an impression.

Of course, this was perfectly charming until it wasn’t.

Read the rest at: The Glorious Table

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