Bloomin’ Mom: The Most Wonderful Time of The Year – By Catrina Chatelain, MLTS Blogger

Despite the stress that is second nature to the holiday season, it remains my favorite time of year. For our family, it begins the night before Thanksgiving, when we kick-off the five or six week long celebration with a great bottle of wine and a 24-hour cooking session. It then continues with the lighting of the Christmas tree and Hanukkah candles, and the gift bonanza of Christmas day. It all concludes with the life-affirming tradition of welcoming a new year with a few glasses of bubbly and a meal of black-eyed peas and collard greens in hope of financial blessings to come.

At no other time throughout the year am I more reminded by The Universe of what I believe to be the sacrosanct truths of the purpose of my experience in this life. It is as if the whole season is designed specifically as a calling to my soul to remember that which is, has been, and will always be; that intangible, infinite source from which all things considered good, flow. Thanksgiving speaks of fellowship with family and friends, the opportunity to commune with those you love, regardless of religious affiliation or beliefs. Hanukkah reminds us, as the song goes, that “there can be miracles when you believe,” while Christmas can represent the eternal potentiality of the birth of a Christ-like figure (meaning one who loves all of mankind) within each and every one of us. The New Year blessedly allows us to put to rest that from the past that perhaps was not wished for or desired, and to embrace another opportunity to attain all that we hope for.

This holiday season is unlike any other for my little family. It is, my husband and I hope and pray, the end of a steady financial decline since the near global financial collapse of a few short years ago. Within four years, we’ve pretty much lost everything financial and material; my husband’s business of 20 years imploded, my entrepreneurial effort has been stopped short in its infancy, and the life which we’ve worked so hard for so long is now simultaneously a faded memory and distant dream of the future. We are standing in the remnants of our complete financial ruin, and just a few weeks ago, my emotional state perfectly reflected that.

Then blessedly, I turned around and it was the night before Thanksgiving, and while we no longer have the means to kick-off the season with our traditionally expensive bottle or two of premium wine, we did have the pleasure of imbibing a very inexpensive yet still delicious wine, to similar effect.

We are temporarily displaced, having lost our beautiful doorman-building apartment in Manhattan and having been forced to leave our home in France to return here to seek treatment for a condition from which our oldest daughter suffers, while simultaneously constructing our financial recovery. Even still, I spent the night before and Thanksgiving Day cooking as usual, grateful to have a mother who welcomed us with open arms into her beautiful, spacious home with no limit of generosity when we had no other place to go.

We kicked off Hanukkah with our hearts full of faith that everything that is seemingly wrong now will eventually turn right again. That faith increases each night, with each additional candle lit.

And now, my husband and I look toward Christmas day, grateful that we have still been able to surround the tree with goodies for our two girls, even though we have nothing material to give to each other, but certain in our love and commitment, which has only grown stronger during this time of great challenge.

Our lack of consistent employment has enabled us to volunteer this holiday season more than ever before. We spend our nights sharing our experiences of helping others, conscious of the birthing of a better version of ourselves that is taking place internally throughout this holiday season.

And when the New Year is here, God and The Universe willing, of course, we will welcome it all together with a nice bottle of sparkling wine (unless we win the lotto champagne is most definitely out of our budget for now) and a hearty plate of future financial blessings in the form of black-eyed peas and collard greens.

I have never been so financially low in my life, and I’ve never been as grateful and full of love as I am at this very moment, in this holiday season. I look forward to all of the good that I faithfully await to come our way, and I am grateful for the opportunity to share it all with you as it appears.

Happy Holidays, and may you and yours be as blessed as me and mine.


Catrina Chatelain is a married mother of two daughters. She and her family have recently returned to the New York area after living in France. Her professional life includes several years in the restaurant business and more recently in the education sector. She is now engaged in an entrepreneurial endeavor in the wine business, as well as various writing projects. Catrina is an avid lover of wine, politics, books, travel, and fashion, and in her spare time the soon-to-be 40 years old mother enjoys incessantly declaring that “40 is the new 30!” (contrary to her body’s own proclamations).

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