Solutions: Learning to treasure all we have in new year

Jeanine Matlow

As I reflect on the recent holiday season, thoughts about home fill my head. With Thanksgiving comes gratitude and gatherings before the spirit of Christmas kicks in often leading to some form of sharing or giving followed by the usual New Year’s resolutions.

At the moment, I’m attempting to blend them all beginning with gratitude. Most days, I feel incredibly fortunate to have our house and the daily rituals we do there that have been enhanced by some simple gifts this year.

When our daughter added a ukulele to her Christmas list, I was thrilled. The unique instrument has added the sweet sound of live music to our home environment as she teaches herself how to play each day.

One of the highlights of our holidays is our daughter’s kindness and creativity as she takes a break from her current role as a sassy teen. Her original gifts bring us laughter and joy, like the DIY movie night she gave me in a wicker basket we already had filled with DVDs we also owned that she’s been wanting me to watch. Adding a few of my favorite snacks provided the icing on the cake.

Other simple gifts that made my list this year included a new coffeemaker to support my morning ritual of sitting in the living room with a cup by my side while savoring this quiet time of day. My daughter also happened to get me a new coffee mug for Christmas with my zodiac sign that holds special meaning.

After a fruitless search for the teakettle I wanted with no whistle that can go in the dishwasher, a friend surprised me with the same one she has when we exchanged gifts the day after Christmas. This thoughtful gesture truly made my day.

Now I can sit with a cup of tea and my new book that was recommended to me by my daughter’s English teacher following a discussion we had about similar reads.

The same teacher “adopted” a family in need for the holidays by collecting gently used books and board games. We were able to contribute some of the new items on their list like socks and school supplies, which were greatly appreciated. Helping others fill their homes with the basics makes me appreciate what we have even more.

On Christmas Day we were able to wind down and spend some quiet time at home watching the snowflakes swirl around, making me feel like I was in a giant snow globe.

In 2018, I plan to remain grateful for the comforts of home and I hope to continue the spirit of giving to others in need. Simply appreciating my daily rituals and the little helpers that make them happen, like a new coffeemaker and tea kettle along with a good book and some DVDs is a great start. Instead of wanting more, I’m going to focus on what I have and enjoy it.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at