“There seems a magic in the very name of Christmas.” Charles Dickens
I have the above quote on a Christmas tray I use for decoration each year on our fireplace mantle just to the right of our Christmas wreath. To the left is another Santa-decorated tray. Those that know me know that I LOVE CHRISTMAS and ADORE SANTA! And while Covid ended our 37-year run of annual Christmas parties, we still decorate our main level and have anywhere from 4000-5000 lights on our tree. And yes—there seems a magic in the very name of Christmas!
My favorite word is “believe” and this word, too, has its place this time of year. Do you believe in Santa? Well I believe in Santa AND Santa’s cause. During this season, it’s a little bit easier to believe magical things can happen. The snow globe outside your window and on your mantle, the candles lit, the wish lists contemplated, the jingling of the bells, sprinkling of glitter, twinkling lights on the tree, elves on the shelf, family baking, gift giving, carols sung and time spent together are a magical elixir creating a perfect recipe for magical juju.
We can use these little bits of wonder to turn up the magic. I’m taking my cue from Christmas books (including the Bible, of course), Christmas movies and experience here.
I used to light a Christmas candle in my bedroom when I was pre-teen and then I’d shut off all the lights and rock on the floor as I sang an endless array of Christmas Carols. It’s one of my favorite memories. Fast forward a few years—I’m in my early teens and my neighborhood has a caroling group that invites me out to sing with them! Oh joy upon joys! I found nirvana! I remember saying to myself—I want to do THIS EVERY YEAR! And that, my dear readers, is how our annual party came to be. Caroling was part of the itinerary. I sing loud and flat but you can’t tell the host to be quiet, now can you? Singing lowers cortisol and relieves stress and tension. Studies have shown that when people sing, endorphins and oxytocin are released by the brain which in turn lowers stress and anxiety levels. It’s no wonder we all love singing familiar songs!
Lighting a candle and saying a prayer is as old as time. Lighting a candle symbolizes bringing light to our wishes or desires. This is a practice I do daily—sometimes more than once but always during my yoga practice. Doing this practice this time of year adds an element of hope I can’t describe. There’s magic afoot! You can feel it! Just light the candle and pray. Send your thoughts to the heavens and know they are heard. This practice will always bring a sense of calm and hope. I believe the angels are closer to us all this time of year. The Christmas Candle movie is a must watch for us each year ever since we discovered it. Tear alert!
Christmas tree lights
Christmas tree lights induce a meditative joy. Have you felt it? The twinkling glow makes your heart sing and vibrate with Christmas spirit. I don’t need to quote scientific studies on color therapy here, do I? Just try it. And if you don’t have your own tree, take a drive through the neighborhood and take it all in. There’s joy to be had and spirit to be honed. You simply need to be in the presence of twinkling lights.
Snow globes have induced smiles across the world. I think we’ve all been enamored by a snow globe, either man-made or the one outside your winter window. They even have self-powered ones that circulate snow without the need to shake the globe! Sparkly twinkles of snow flowing rhythmically in view will always invite fanciful thoughts and take your mind to its happy place—or at least lighten your mood while gazing. Snow globes conjure up your inner child.
I watched a Christmas movie about making a wish before you shake your snow globe and then placing your trust in the magic unfolding. (I believe it was “Christmas in Evergreen”.) So yes, I’ve done that a few (hundred) times this year as part of my evening “turning on the lights” ritual.
Letters to Santa and Wish Lists
We have a “letters to Santa” ornament that’s a tube with an enclosure and a lid. It’s become a tradition for my husband and I to write our Christmas wish list about what we’d like the next year to bring to our lives (love, time together, continued closeness, wishes, goals, etc.). We read the list each year after opening our gifts under the tree and then write another one for next year. One year we were gifted a similar item that’s a Santa mailbox. We do something similar there. There’s magic in writing things down and placing them in a special place that creates the momentum for the wishes to come to fruition. You’ve heard “write it down and make it happen”, right? Well add that energy to the Christmas spirit and there’s no stopping you! It’s the time of year for wish making!
Glitter, Tinsel and sparkly things
I have a collection of angel glitter that came inside a Christmas card from a friend years ago. Well, I don’t throw anything Christmas away! So I gathered all those angels of red, green and gold and saved them. They are scattered on our Christmas table each year and saved again for next year. Sometimes one angel finds its way out and lands “somewhere” in the house. Their surprise visits always make me smile as though God has just winked at me. The same goes for a small piece of tinsel that magically appears mid-year on the floor that’s been vacuumed regularly all year. I think the Christmas fairies are giggling in the corners of my house waiting for my reaction.
Elf on the Shelf
A few years ago, one of my treasured Yoga students was moving and was giving away several things, one of which was a beautiful red and green carved, wooden elf from Italy! Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes he found a treasured place in my Christmas decorations from then on! His presence emits a kind of aura of protection—like he’s watching over our celebrations and perhaps reporting back to Santa. I call him “Geppeto”. He simply makes me smile. Do you have an elf on your shelf? It should be required this time of year! It will make you smile, I promise!
When you here jingling bells what comes to mind? For me, it’s Santa and his sleigh bells! We put bells on our front door this time of year. Whenever we open and shut the door the jingling bells jingle and it automatically lifts my heart. If my husband is within earshot, he’ll always say out loud: “Santa?” When we used to go caroling, we handed out various bells for our carolers to ring as we sang too. We were a noisy group! Try it—I’m sure there’s recordings of jingling bells you can find if you don’t own a bell. Get lost in the magic of this Christmas sound therapy!
And I’ll end with my most favorite—Santa Claus! I once gave a speech in my college communications class about believing in Santa. It was St. Nicholas Day the day I was to speak. My professor liked it so much, he asked me to present it at the Beiger Mansion Inn in my home town (Mishawaka, Indiana) during a charity function. At the very end I quoted a Statler Brothers’ song. It summarizes how I feel:
“Never heard a snowman talking
Never seen a reindeer fly
Nor seen a wooden soldier walking
Nor met Santa eye to eye
Now there are those who don’t believe
In miracles or Santa Claus
But I believe what I believe
And I believe in Santa’s cause”
It’s a beautiful song.
And this same sentiment is expressed in a Facebook posts that’s made the rounds:
* ATTENTION PARENTS WHO MIGHT NEED TO TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT SANTA ?? *
Son: “Dad, I think I’m old enough now. Is there a Santa Claus?”
Dad: “Okay, I agree that you’re old enough. But before I tell you, I have a question for you. You see, the “truth” is a dangerous gift. Once you know something, you can’t un-know it. Once you know the truth about Santa Claus, you’ll never again understand and relate to him as you do now. So my question is: Are you sure you want to know?”
Son: “Yes, I want to know.”
Dad: “Okay, then I’ll tell you. Yes, there is a Santa Claus.”
Dad: Yes, really, but he’s not an old man with a beard in a red suit. That’s just what we tell kids. You see, kids are too young to understand the true nature of Santa Claus, so we explain it to them in a way that they can understand. The truth about Santa Claus is that he’s not a person at all; he’s an idea. Think of all those presents Santa gave you over the years. We bought those for you. We watched you open them. And did it bother us that you didn’t know? Of course not! In fact it gave us great pleasure. You see, Santa Claus is THE IDEA OF GIVING FOR THE SAKE OF GIVING, without thought of thanks or acknowledgement.
When I saw that woman collapse in town last week and I called for help, I knew that she’d never know that it was me that called an ambulance. I was being Santa Claus when I did that.”
Dad: “So now that you know, you’re a part of it too. You have to be Santa Claus now. That means you can never tell a young kid the secret, you have to help us select Santa presents for them, and most important, you have to look for opportunities to help other people. Got it?” Look out for and help each other this Christmas. And always be kind.
Thank you for reading my Christmas-joy-bringers list. I hope you find something in here that lights up your inner child. “May you find among the gifts placed beneath your tree, the most precious one of all—the child you used to be.” Jody Bergsma
Better Day Yoga, LLC ~Mail to: 5024 Oxborough Gardens
Brooklyn Park, MN 55443-3990
(612) 708 6900
SIX WEEKS TO INNER-RESILIENCE
(Scroll to the end to see the holiday special!)
Would you like to learn how to take back your health and vitality?
Let me show you how to live in balance with nature and reawaken your inner resilience through yoga’s 5000+ year-old sister science: Ayurveda. Ayurveda literally translates to “The Science of Life”. Through an understanding of the power held within the cycles of nature and how the elements and qualities in nature affect each of us uniquely, Ayurveda helps us hone our greatest assets, increasing our resilience and longevity.
“Six-weeks to Inner-Resilience” will recapture what you’ve known intuitively all along: “Nothing has the greatest power to heal but the self.” ~ Indu Arora.
In my “Six Weeks to Inner-Resilience” workshop I’ll help you establish a personalized daily routine to reawaken your personal inner guru. With the help of your supportive “tribe” members we’ll celebrate each other’s successes and encourage accountability, cheering each other on, answering questions, sharing advice, recipes and pertinent articles.
“I was having trouble losing weight and had no energy when my friend suggested that I try a yoga class at Better Day Yoga. After my very first class I could tell that this was what I had been looking for and needed. Sandy takes the time to make sure that you are doing everything correctly and that you are getting the most out of each and every class. Over the past year, I have lost 55+ pounds and have so much energy. I feel stronger and my stress level has also gone down. I look forward to class each week and recommended that you try it.” ~ Cathy Collova
Your Six-Weeks to Inner-Resilience includes:
- Face-to-face-meetings (via Zoom) which include: A group yoga practice and after class review of the upcoming week’s topics (approximately 90 minutes).
- Membership in a privateFacebook Group for questions and follow-up, recorded class videos, pertinent handouts and cheat sheets, recipes, advice, and encouragement
Each week we’ll review ideas and suggestions for:
- Your personal at-home yoga practice,
- Meditation, and Breath practices to calm, energize or balance
- Discovering how to eat more mindfully and in tune with your uniquenature
- Positive, feel-good activities to keep you motivated and progressing forward toward reclaiming your natural inner resilience
- Journaling exercises to track your progress and uncover emotional patterns, stress and anxiety triggers
- Daily rituals for maintaining clarity of mind and intention
- Understanding your Ayurvedic “body type”/constitution so you can befriend your greatest assets
- Incorporating ancient Ayurveda techniques into your routine
Similar to my other classes, this six-week transformation workshop is available as a private group class via Zoom starting no later than 6:00 PM and no earlier than 12:00 PM on a time available in my schedule.
Timing: The Six weeks may or may not be consecutive depending on both my personal schedule and the group’s individual’s schedules. In other words, I’ll work with you to get six weeks that everyone, or a majority, can attend. If you want to have this Six-week transformation with your group, please contact me to discuss!
You will also need to have available or complete prior to class:
- Please take my dosha quiz to determine your own body type:
The instructions are at the top. You’ll be taking the quiz twice, as explained. For each time you take the quiz, total the columns on both pages to see which is your dominant dosha, second dominant, and third.
- A personal Journal (or two or three) of your choice. You decide how many you might use! Ideas for journal uses:
- A daily catchall of:
- goals thoughts quotes
- and to-do’s
- A food journal to record what you ate and how you ate (i.e. did you gulp it down, eat while watching TV or while reading, as well as any emotions in and around your environment at the time of your meals).
- A personal journal for doodling, morning pages stream of conscious writing, letters to your inner self.
- Loose-fitting clothing or yoga attire, whichever you prefer
- Yoga Mat (for your personal, home practice).
- Join my private “Reclaiming my inner resilience” private Facebook group! I will record classes similar to the ones we have in person and have them available for viewing here.
- Get ready to reconnect with your personal inner guru! ?
“The great thing about Ayurveda is that its treatments always yield side benefits, not side effects.” Shubhra Krishan
Holiday Special! Book and pay before the end of 2022 and save $20! I’ll also reduce the minimum to three vs. five if you’re booked and paid before the end of 2022!
Normally $120* per person, per Six-week workshop
($20 per class). Book and pay before the end of 2022 and it’s $100* per person – that’s less than $17 per class!
Minimum 5 people / Maximum 12 people per Six-week workshop. Book and pay before the end of 2022 and I’ll lower the minimum to three people instead of five.
*Full six-week tuition due prior to the first class and before the end of 2022 to get the holiday special