Comfort & Joy


It’s a funny thing, I wrote this piece a month ago - when all things *holiday* were feeling premature…. And now here I am in the midst of “the season” (is it seriously already December 12th??) and I’m just now publishing it.

Which really is just perfect and sort of highlights the sentiment I was feeling at the time. So back to my little reverie… a few weeks ago, I stumbled into Target (oh Target). I was immediately assaulted with ALL THINGS CHRISTMAS.

It was as if I had walked into a chic version of *that* Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer movie, I swear I saw Burl Ives at one of the checkout counters (also, when did Target become so chic?!)

As I was saying… Red and white and green everywhere, a little token blue and white, - and icy winter color stories too because, oh Target… Santa, and Rudolph, and stars, and ornaments, and elves on shelves, and holly and ivy, and BUY PRESENTS NOW, and wrapping paper, and wintry blankets, and adorable mugs, and placemats, and stockings and on and on.Bear in mind: this was the day after Halloween.

My mind immediately went to a judgey place:

Oh, here we go. Capitalism in all it’s shadowy glory, pressing our pain points, feeding our scarcity complexes. In full “you can’t live without this” swing, creating a *shopping season* and distorting our sense of time, our sense of what matters. Turning holy days into “holidays” into mere commodities. Draining the sacred out of us. Generating loads of stress and comparison-itis and debt. Ugh.

And then a thing happened. Another voice spoke up, a softer, possibly wiser voice, she had a different perspective.

What if you let it happen? What if you take the bits that work for you and yours and leave the rest? What if you breathe in the comfort and joy, the merry and bright, what if this weary world rejoiced? And hey, if we get started sooner we get to hang out in the goodness longer.

I’m a big believer that we get to decide what’s sacred, that we are the meaning makers. So why not make this mean something good? Why not actually let these messages come in, and land in our hearts? Even if they’re lacquered on a coffee mug or pillowcase. And bonus… You don’t actually have to buy a damn thing if you don’t want to.

Whatever lens you view this season through — Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Pagan, Atheist, Buddhist, Rastafarian, or something else entirely — there are some universal themes that come up again and again.

Getting cozy in the dark.

Cultivating light and cuddling up with our inner glow.

Gathering with beloveds.

Making sweet memories.

Comfort + joy.

These are the through lines of this season. They’re universal human cravings. They’re beautiful. And really … they couldn’t come too soon (or stay too long).

Our collective need for comfort + joy is massive right now. 

I can’t remember another moment (in my lifetime, at least) when the stress and suffering of the world felt weightier than it has in recent times for so many.

So why should we postpone the brightness, peace, and joy of this season? Why not let it in now? Why not let it linger longer?

Merry, bright, hope, faith, celebration, love … yes, yes, yes, and yes, please.

I am officially calling in the comfort + joy of this season … and will do my best to allow everything else to fall away.

And because I’ve learned that it’s often in these stressful, pressurized moments that I’m most prone to forgetting helpful anchors like this (yes, right when I need them the most), I’m getting all the help I can.

So I’ve heart-stormed people, places, and things that evoke comfort and joy in me. I’m making a list. Checking it twice (hehe) and sharing it with you.

Here are some excerpts from my comfort + joy list:

  • This Spotify playlist

  • This novel, which swept me off my feet and inspired me with it’s rich, strong characters, that somehow held on to love and hopefulness in the direst of situations.

  • Beautiful visual medicine

  • Space. Time. Breath. Movement.

  • Drinking enough water and herbal infusions.

  • Cuddling. Lots and lots of cuddling.

  • Our sweet pup, Elvis

  • Being home.

  • Saying yes. And no. Freely, unapologetically, and meaning it. (thank you therapy).

  • Creating, creating, creating. For me, that looks like taking photos, herb crafting, collaborative projects like this book with my dear sister friend and incredible writer MaryBeth Bonfiglio, gathering with friends, and decorating in simple and meaningful ways (among other things).

    I hope this list inspires and supports you. And I hope you take a few moments (maybe right now?) to create your own list. What brings YOU comfort + joy? I’d love to hear what’s on your list.

    Wherever you are in this dark season of light, I’m wishing you and yours unreasonable amounts of comfort + joy.