“You can’t have everything…Where would you put it?”

I can’t remember who said that but it’s true.

In years gone by, I was the woman who had everything, but I wanted to give a little of it back.

I wanted to be like my mother.

She kept an immaculate house, always dressed nicely including jewelry and make-up. She cooked dinner every night!

She even knew how to work a sewing machine! Or…is it thread a sewing machine?

At Christmas time, she polished the silver and set out the fine China on top of a tablecloth that she hand-embroidered with Christmas trees and wreaths. (I still have it.)

The real tree, the gifts, the homemade manicotti. It was magical.

I used to try to do the same thing.

But is never quite worked out.

Somehow being a musician at holiday time took on a life in and of itself.

Concerts, holiday recitals, and other holiday gigs are a big part of the year-end income boost.

Not to mention, I love doing that stuff.

I spent years as music director for the Catholic church. They add extra masses and make the masses extra long with lots of extra music.

I have a family too. A husband, five boys, and lots of other relatives and friends.

It was all pretty crazy.


But crazy.

For a couple of years, my gift-buying strategy was to wait until the 23rd and then go to Walmart and buy whatever I could find at the last minute.

I tried planning ahead once or twice but, that’s just not my thing. Now we have Amazon.

Problem solved!

I’ll admit I was not only caught up in the holiday craziness I found all of it thrilling. The four weeks after Thanksgiving were a Vente with a shot of Espresso-fueled adrenaline rush. Bigger Christmas trees, more decorations. Fancier recitals, more rehearsals, more gifts, more food, more parties.

Honestly, I could never seem to do enough.

Then in December of 2017, I got a reality check. Things in the Hall family changed that year.

I was forced to take a step back do some soul-searching and like Charlie Brown, take a look at the real meaning of the Holiday season. (as sappy as that may sound.)

I still love the Holidays. I love the lights, and the food, and the gifts. And of course, the music.

But mostly, I love my family and my friends, and for me as a Christian, the baby in the manger.

So, I cut a few corners nowadays.

I do a video recital with my students, I don’t put up so many decorations, and I opt for paper plates.

This year Stewart and I are off to Seattle to spend Christmas with my granddaughter Valerie.

I can’t wait.

Wishing all of you a blessed and peaceful holiday season.

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