Our lovely model is wearing a beautiful and simple silk nightgown. The fire is keeping her feet warm and so, she isn't wearing slippers or a robe for that matter. A quilt has been tossed to the side in case that changes. Her tea is at the ready, stacked on some ancient books. It's Christmas Eve.
The picture was a vignette of images called "Portrait of a Lady" which shows the same model decorating her tree and performing other rituals leading up to the holiday. But what I see here is a woman at peace, contemplating the season and all it means to her. This may actually be the first time she has had time to stop, slow down and spend time in front of a tree that twinkles like the infinite night sky outside. Perhaps she is missing loved ones who come to back to life at Christmas as thoughts trail back to the past.
I recently read an article written by a young mother who said she is so exhausted when Christmas day finally comes that it is just one big relief. But she coined a phrase called "Twixtmas", the meaning of which I have now embraced fully. Twixtmas represents the period of time between Christmas and New Year's when most of the world slows down if only for a bit. Without realizing it, I have been honoring Twixtmas for several years.
I make it a point to save vacation days between the holidays for sleeping late, recovering from holiday stress, and to have long stretches of reading and resting. It is my way of balancing the giving with the receiving. I give myself a present of uninterrupted time at home. I rarely go anywhere except to take a walk if it isn't snowing or to pick up grocery items at the market. I say no to most invitations until at least New Year's Eve. I find Twixtmas to be a magical optimistic fragment of time that I protect and treasure. Life suspends in midair and becomes otherworldly.
Twixtmas is also a time of sensory delights - the frost, the darkness, the flicker of candles, flowers and music. I find my soul speaks louder when the world quiets and my intuition and instincts begin communicating with me. I don't seem to connect as readily with old grief and worry because I hear my resourceful inner voice again. My friends have told me that Twixtmas has helped some of their family members who have been scattered, dissipated or struggling with illness and sadness.
If you crave more down time after the holiday rush, I recommend the practice of Twixtmas. Set aside time to cultivate a part of your busy life that inspires stillness and peace and together we will wait out the darkness with tea, firelight, quietude, and silk nightgowns.