Being Present: How to Survive (and Enjoy) the Holidays


You may be one of those people who has all of their holiday shopping and party planning all wrapped up by now — and if you are, I envy you. I always find myself still searching for one or two perfect gifts, looking for ingredients for favorite recipes, and trying to figure out my holiday party schedule. At least the nice people who make calendars gave us a week’s break before New Year’s Day!

But I’m not letting it get me frazzled. When I’m out battling the hustle and bustle, I always make sure to find a time for a quiet cup of coffee, or a walk in the park (which will be empty, since everyone else is walking in the mall). I stop to check out the holiday decorations in stores and in front yards, and drop into hotel lobbies to see them in their Christmas finery.

Keep your smile on. Observe traffic regulations and parking etiquette. Have some shortbread with your coffee. Wear your pajamas a little longer than you need to. Sit by the fire and focus on friends and family. Be present.

But I’ve got to run now. I’ve got presents to wrap!

Mary Spalding is a Nashville based interior designer with over 30 years of experience. She has overseen countless home revitalizations, renovations, and restorations. She can be reached with your projects and ideas at

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  • Dear Mary, it’s always a pleasure to read your posts!!! One by one so very interesting to read. And I love to see pictures of your beautiful home!!! A feast for the eyes. So love this picture here of you and your lovely pets in that settee. Your home is so warm and inviting! It really looks gorgeous, as ‘un palazzo piccolo’.
    Wishing you and yours a wonderful Holiday Season!
    Warm regards from Belgium,

  • Think the picture of you in the kitchen is my favorite!
    Thanks for keeping us all festive and reminding us of what is important!
    Merry Merry Mary!