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Happy Christmas, my Loves!

by Sophia Scarpulla 2 years ago in family
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A gift guide for a sweet and sentimental holiday.

Season Greetings, my friends! As we all know, this holiday season is surely feeling different than it has in the past, but that has not changed the fact that it is still my favorite time of year. With the pandemic in place, plans are constantly changing, traditions are either on hold or are being improvised, and the need for human connection and love is growing stronger by the day.

This time has really helped me see life through a different lens. It has made me realize that what is most important is not necessarily tangible. When this major shift in our world occurred, a major shift in my everyday life occurred for me, as well. I have always been a believer of "It's the little things." But now I work to help others see the magic in that belief of mine, too. When I wake up in the morning, sunshine or rain, the very first thing I do is take in my surroundings. The natural light peeking in from the blinds, my plant that continues to flourish because of my caring for it, my cozy bed, the scent of thieves and lavender misting from my diffuser...I could go on and on...But then I take a deep inhale and let out a big exhale and say quietly to myself, "Baby girl, how lucky you are. You should be so grateful." Despite “the norms”of the holidays and “the norms” of life in general being non-existent, we should be grateful. Grateful that we are here on Earth, that our bodies continue to protect us from this cruel virus, that we are alive to have yet another Christmas. We are the lucky ones...

Gratitude: the mentality I am adopting this season. My main goal for this Christmas is to make my loved ones feel incredibly special when they open their gifts from me. I want them to know that I care about them. That they are seen and they are heard. That I am grateful for them. When you think about it, gifts are like the sprinkles of life. They are not necessary, but they sure are lovely when you receive them. In my opinion, what is most prevalent in gift giving is not the physical gift itself, but rather, the thought behind it and the person who gave it to you. I have put together a nifty gift guide/narrative for your seasonal shopping! Here goes!

In general, I am very much of an artist and a creative. I mean the arts are my livelihood; however, this time has emphasized “thinking outside the box” to a whole new level. If you are artistic like myself, this is the perfect way to put our creativity skills to use. In the past few years, I have discovered that I love to paint. So here is a gift idea if you are low on money (hey hey to my starving artists out there): make some homemade Christmas cards. It might just be the romantic in me, but there is nothing like the magic of mail. I love receiving handwritten cards and letters. They are forever keepsakes. Because as someone once told me, your word is your greatest power. Putting your kind words into a beautifully hand-crafted card is priceless. So let’s get those brushes and watercolor palettes out to play!

My second tip of advice as you shop for your loved ones: Ask yourself, what do you think of when you think of that person? These could be attributes, actual objects, places, other people, movies, music, etc. I have found that to be extremely helpful in solidifying gifts for people. For example, because I am a huge music buff, I enjoy making personalized playlists. I provide a teeny description of why each song reminds/makes me think of them. It is super successful, for both people who love music and for people who are not big music listeners. And I think it is because music holds such a power. When you add melody to a message, it just naturally resonates through your entire being and creates such meaningful experience to remember.

Okay! Onto the third tip of the day! Think about all your loved ones and what you love to do with them. Think about your favorite times and experiences with them. Think about the times that meant the most to you and your loved ones and how it impacted your relationship. Experiences are just as golden as shiny wrapped boxes. Still stuck? Have no fear, Soph is here to give ya a little inspiration! My best friend introduced me to this bakery in the city. Holy sugar did my life change after eating - I’m sorry, devouring - a Levain cookie. So one of the ideas that has been brewing is to get a bottle of wine, some Levain yumminess, and decorate her very first Christmas tree together. Side note, my best friend is Jewish and so she has never had a Christmas, but has always wanted to experience it. This year we are changing that. But, baked goods of any kind, especially from your local businesses, are awesome ways to bring some sweetness into a person’s life.

Here are a few more things I am planning on doing for some special people in my life. Promise to keep it a secret? If you can’t hush hush, I am going to have to ask you to leave...hehe just kidding, silly! So here is the scoop….

I live in New York City and my family lives in upstate NY. This will be my second Christmas away from the fam due to my work schedule, but hey, we will still celebrate from afar. Plus, I just want them to be safe and me traveling could absolutely risk that. No thank you! Well, I have a single mama and with cases rising high, my family on both sides is cancelling all plans to get together. My sweet mama is going to be alone this year, so she decided that there is really not a point to doing her usual decorating or cookie baking. When my mama decorates, she OUTDOES herself. Our cute little ranch turns into a winter wonderland. It is stunning. But my heart broke for her when hearing this, so something dawned on me. I am going to send her a mini artificial tree (along with an aesthetically pleasing set of ornaments) that we will decorate together over facetime. Additionally, because my other two roommates are artists as well, we are going to sing some carols for her. She calls me every day to tell me that she misses hearing me sing in the house, so I thought I would bring the music to her this Christmas.

Here is another sweet story for you: my boyfriend’s mama used to bring him home a white hot chocolate from Dunkin Donuts every Saturday morning on her way home from the night shift at the hospital. This weekly treat never stopped until Dunkin DISCONTINUED THE WHITE HOT CHOCOLATE. HOW DARE. And to top it off, they replaced it with oreo...just...no. So one of my merry surprises for him is a cozy night in with Christmas movies, snuggles, and endless mugs of homemade white hot chocolate. Plus, I think it would get me in the Christmas spirit...this girl has been having a time trying to get herself merry and bright.

Alright y’all, last tip for you! PRACTICALITY. What do your loved ones really need right now? Sometimes I struggle with this approach when buying gifts because I feel it lacks sentimental value, but it’s really quite the opposite. Think about it. As humans, how often do we ever express what we actually need? I know that I don’t like….ever. Society has taught us that expressing what we need can be looked at as a burden or we should feel ashamed or embarrassed by what we need. In that case, when we give what someone needs, they especially feel cared for. Think about all the conversations you have with your loved ones. What comes up? Really listen to them. What kind of gifts could help take a load off their back this holiday season or in the long run? Here are some things I am doing!

My sisters have a lot of little ladies running around the house, four baby girls with one sis and two baby girls with the other. Yes, you added correctly. Six girls. Six peanuts who go through weeks worth of groceries like they have never eaten before. Sooo, I am sending my two sisters gift cards to the grocery store and when they can take a break for themselves, a Target giftcard to spend. I don’t know if it's a suburban white mom thing, but sisters freaking love Target. For my boyfriend, I am putting together a small housewarming basket. He is making a move to a new apartment, so I bought him an all-purpose pan/pot to cook, cooking utensils, his own Trader Joe’s reusable freezer bag, his favorite spices from TJ’s, his favorite chocolates, and a supply of banana peppers. This man eats banana peppers out of the jar - it’s like me and nutella. It sounds silly, I know, but at the end of the day, you are giving someone their essentials, or necessities. When we have what we need, we feel secure. We feel like we can take a deep breath.

Well, I hope this in some way helped you, my friends. I wish you the best this holiday season and please stay safe. Look out for your loved ones. All we have is each other.

Much love and socially distant hugs...

~ Soph

family

About the author

Sophia Scarpulla

Hello, Soph here! My only hopes are to inspire my audiences, make hearts lighter, and to spread a little more magic through the written word.

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