When I was a child, do you know what I wanted to be when I grew up? In charge. I wanted to be in charge. I wanted the freedom to make decisions that were so obviously in the best interest of others that I could not understand how no one was seeing what I was seeing. It was like people were walking right past this gorgeous low hanging fruit and on purpose. Who does that? Completely frustrating.

After I learned that being in charge wasn’t a thing, I tried to find what would be my thing and finally be able to answer that looming question. It’s the “what are you going to be when you grow up” question you get asked roughly 500,000 times between birth and high school graduation. “I don’t know” was an honest answer but certainly not typical or understood. It seemed this answer provoked grown-ups to need to find the answer to this question for me, or it was just going to continue to bother them. I don’t think anyone likes having this as an open-ended question on their plate. Their help did not help. Even the well-meaning ones.

I did not find much success in the creative process or outlets I engaged with. Also not helpful. I think that is how I ended up connecting so strongly with the Christmas season. It was themed and offered clear parameters for me to work within. And it was completely festive. Everything was so wonderfully festive. The Christmas season was inexhaustible, and I loved it more with each and every year. There were new ideas presented annually (this was before Pinterest so we had to wait for books and magazines to be published), and they were filled with inspiration on new ways to trim, wrap, gift, etc. Splendid. Let’s pre-order next year’s, shall we?

As you know, Christmas comes but once a year…meaning I went into a state of pining in the months in between. Not dissimilar to a true die-hard sports fan, I suppose. Good news for my creative yearning, the work place entered my life early on, and it was like the clouds parted complete with angels singing. I could make work my favorite. That seemed like a thing. I’d seen people do it before. So I let the office environment sweep me off my feet, and the rest is history. I was busy. Making me a bonafide grown up. I was sure of it.

I became good at being busy and honed this skill as a grown up. I became so good at it, I all but pushed creativity right out the door, making more room for my ever growing plate. It took the weight of that plate for me to realize I was craving an outlet, and that outlet would not be satisfied unless it was creative. That was good and timely as this invitation was heading my way with a pending birthday party.

But before we talk about that, I want to recount a visit with a childhood friend.