I didn’t grow up watching It’s a Wonderful Life but thanks to one of my brothers-in-law, my husband and I have a now-long standing tradition of watching It’s a Wonderful Life each year.  The kids watched with us a handful of years but it’s not their cup of tea.  My husband and I continue our tradition regardless.  As has always been the case, I cry at the end of the movie.  My eyes are not just teary, they fill to the brim, the tears run down my cheeks.  The movie has a few lines/phrases/behaviors that aren’t appropriate in this day and age, I know, but I’m able to suspend those for the greater message, the underlying sentiment.  The underlying sentiment is what fills the tears that run down my cheeks.

I grew up watching White Christmas.  For many years (decades) I stopped watching it.  Last year, one of my sisters reminds me of the movie, mentions how she watches it on repeat during the month of December.  Last year, I watch it and am reminded how much I love it, am reminded of watching musicals while growing up.  I watch it again this year, over the course of two mornings, curled up on the couch with a cup of coffee, sitting next to the Christmas tree, the kids still sleeping, my husband already off to work.  I cry towards the end of the movie.  It’s that underlying sentiment thing again, unlocking something inside me.

We bake cookies, we wrap a few presents, we take the pup for walks.  I teach three yoga classes, even quieter and softer than usual.  I want us all to have time on the mat to be gentle with ourselves, to then carry this quieter-softer-gentler way of being into the rest of our day, our week, our holiday.

I make a list of the things I need to do, erase something that would be good to do but doesn’t absolutely need doing right now.  It feels good to erase that line, feels good to recognize that it can wait for next week.  I am torn about a gift I’d like to make someone, a gift that is impromptu and would be lovely to give but which will also mean a bit of crazy-making for me.  I decide not the make the gift, write a thoughtful note instead, tucking my heart inside words, adding a strip of washi tape to the envelope, sending it on its way.  Sometimes enough is really quite good.

I remember that I have choices in all of the doing that I do.  I have to keep reminding myself, and this reminding is a task in and of itself, though I try to see the reminding as a practice.  Gently framing it as a practice provides me with a soft foundation from which to move (and choose) (and grow) (and give).  I need this softness.  I need this practice.  It unlocks something inside me.

Christmas isn’t a season.  It’s a feeling.
~ Edna Ferber ~

Merry Christmas to you!
Wishing you gentleness and softness in the amounts you need.
Be safe, be well, be kind.

P.S.  If you’ve subscribed to receive this post in your inbox and you hit ‘reply’ it will post on my blog.  If that’s what you intend, perfect!  I love a little conversation on the blog! If you’re hoping to send me a private message, please be sure to send your message to hello[at]michellegd[dot]com. 

18 thoughts on “unlocking

  1. Relating relating relating. “I remember that I have choices in all of the doing that I do.” I wrote in my last 4 Christmas cards today – yes today the day after Christmas – knowing that I wanted to add a longer message to these people than I need to on the other cards I sent, putting them at the bottom of the pile and finding myself as usual way behind. But I slip them late into the mail because that is better than not sending them at all or leaving off the personal note in a rush to get them to their destination before Christmas day. Another choice was similar to yours in realizing the handmade gift I’d wanted to make and include in a package just wasn’t going to happen and that was ok, also ok to find a different gift to enclose instead. What a weight off the holiday preparations when we realize some of these choices are ok and remember the reason for the season as they say. Sending peace and love and holiday joy your way.

    1. I do the same, Sheila…saving those cards with longer messages to write at the end when I’m absolutely unhurried! I love how thoughtful and intentional you’ve been with all of this. It’s not easy when the world says otherwise.
      And thank you for the beautiful wishes…I hope the same things fill your days and heart too. xo

  2. Thank you for this lovely gentle and beautiful message. I love Christmas movies and I watch them on the Hallmark channel, and I cry with each one :)
    Happy gentle Holiday, Merry Christmas and all good wishes to you and your family. xoxo

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed this, Masha.❤️ The Christmas movies are often tear-jerkers, aren’t they?! Hope you’ve enjoyed a bunch this season :)
      Wishing gentleness and merriness to you and your family too, Masha! xx

  3. Yes. Choosing gently. Moving a bit more slowly, softly. Yes. Infinitely yes. Thank you for your thoughtful words. Joyous holidays to you! I’m off to curl up and watch White Christmas—my own Christmas Eve tradition. Tracie

    1. And thank YOU, Tracie, for your thoughtful words. May we both step into this softness, yesyesyes. And I love that you watch White Christmas each year!!! Enjoy!!! (When the general sees all the men who have come to see him at the inn? Teary times for me.) Merry Christmas to you and yours… xx

  4. dear m —

    I did grow up watching It’s a Wonderful Life 🥰 and carried that tradition into my grown up years (my girls watched through childhood, but now as adults, no longer have the “patience” for it).

    Even with its “flaws”, it’s still one of my favorite movies — like you, it’s the sentimentality for me. And every time I watch it, at the first note of Hark the Herald Angels Sing… I cry. It happens every year.

    So, I just had to reply to this note. One more sign that makes me think we are kindred spirits.

    wishing you & yours peace, joy, comfort this holiday season. and I hope you have a merry little Christmas, michelle ❤️

    xoxo leah


    1. Dear Leah, how lovely that you’ve kept this tradition all these years…oh, I love that. The “patience”, right?! I shake my head.

      Each year I think maybe this is the year I won’t cry…I mean, I know exactly what’s going to happen! But I get teary as soon as George meets Bert on the bridge and then when George gets home and is at the top of the stairs with the kids…well, it’s all over from then on ;)

      Merry Christmas, my kindred spirit. I’m grateful to know this story from you. ❤️ Wishing peace and joy to you and yours, Leah. Merry, Merry Christmas! xx

  5. Merry Christmas! I wish you and your family a wonderful, gentle holiday season!

    (Currently enjoying a warm mug of coffee ☕️with the Christmas tree lights 🎄, while watching a gentle snowfall! ❄️ Cheers!)

    Lots of hugs, Connie 😊


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