The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on December 2, 2010.

The alarm on my clock-radio went off the other morning just as the news was getting over and Christmas music was starting up again. The first song was “The Little Drummer Boy,” which has always been one of my favorite Christmas carols. Since I didn’t have any meetings or appointments for which I needed to hop up and race off to start the day, I stayed in bed long enough to enjoy the song. And because I had no other distractions, I noticed things I never really paid attention to before.

The first was the rich, deep voices rolling their R’s and humming their M’s in the “Rummmm…..rummmm…..rummmm…..” setting up the drumbeat rhythm. Then came the beautiful harmony of sweet, strong voices singing, “Come, they told me…” I didn’t focus on the words because I already know them so well. Instead, I listened to the “pa-rum-pum-pum-pum” at the end of each line, and the tinkling musical accents from either a bell or a triangle. When the final words of the song came up, I smiled right along with “Then He smiled at me, pa-rum-pum-pum-pum. Me and my drum.”

I marveled at how perfectly and beautifully everything in the song blended together – the words, the rhythm, the melody, harmony, and accompaniment. What occurred to me then is how the whole Christmas season is like a song or a symphony. For most of us, the holiday season is filled with many different parts – religious rituals and secular celebrations, family dinners and events, holiday parties and activities. We buy, wrap and give or send presents, we address and mail cards, we decorate our homes and bake special holiday treats.

At its best, the different parts blend smoothly together. At its worst, it’s a different story. It doesn’t take much to knock all the different pieces out of balance, as happens in a concert or performance when one voice or instrument is off-key or simply overpowers all the others. Instead of complementing and contributing to the lovely, overall intended effect, it calls attention to itself and causes distress and discontent.

In my column a few weeks ago, I mentioned ways to use some of the practices and processes I’ve learned through Dream Coaching to make this Christmas season the holiday of your dreams. You do this by determining what is really important to you, and making sure to incorporate and include it in your holiday plans so it doesn’t get overshadowed or drowned out by unreasonable demands and expectations or unbalanced activities and intentions.

A friend of mine told me she thought that was the best column I’ve ever written, and another friend – who lives near Atlanta and who reads my column on-line – said she emailed the column to almost everyone in her address book. I’m guessing this means that there are many of us who are looking for ways to make the holiday more meaningful, and to eliminate or reduce the stress that comes when things get overpowering or out of hand.

It doesn’t mean we need to turn into the Grinch, give up any of our cherished traditions, or turn our backs on the people we want to remember with gifts or cards. It just means we need to find and create the balance that keeps everything in unison. So we can focus on each individual aspect of the holiday, and so we can treasure the effect of it all coming together in perfect harmony.

I hope you enjoy the symphony of the season.

© Betty Liedtke, 2010