Snowy scene with trees

Twas the morn before Christmas…

Twas the morn before Christmas and outside my house, not a car was stirring, nor even a mouse.

I had zipped my winter coat over my pajamas this morning to bring our recycling to the curb. When I stepped out onto the porch, it reminded me of the mornings when my boys were young and we woke early on Saturdays to take them to hockey games. Those days were hardly quiet. It was always a rush to get breakfast into their bellies and gear onto their bodies and all of us into the car.

On Sundays, we woke early for church. Monday through Friday, it was work and school. Never a day to sleep in. Never a break, it seemed.

Working moms get no break.

My mom used to talk about how much she loved getting up before anyone else and enjoying the quiet. When my kids were little, what I wanted more than anything was to sleep in.

But I always relished that moment on a winter morning when I stepped outside into the cocoon of the stillness and silence. If someone had boxed up that feeling of peace and put it under my Christmas tree, I’d have needed no other gift.

These days, my kids are grown, and I have my fill of solitude. I’m much less in need of cocooning but I still appreciate the gift of quiet, peace-filled moments. They are opportunities for reflection.

May your Christmas Day, whether you celebrate or not, be filled with opportunities for reflection.

This holiday season, I wish you many of those moments. I hope they allow you to reflect on life, and I hope you find reasons for gratitude, even if you have to dig deep, as I know many people do. If it helps, pretend I’ve wrapped the gift and placed it under your tree with a fancy bow and a tag that says,

“From Karen. To my friend.”

If you don’t celebrate Christmas, pretend the box is on your table or windowsill or already in your hands.

Unwrap. Enjoy. Repeat every day.

Until next year, I wish you all the best.


If you’re curious about me, check out my “About” page!

Photo credit: A collaboration of myself and good friend and photographer Sam Ciraulo.


  • Karen DeBonis

    Karen DeBonis writes about motherhood, people-pleasing, and personal growth, the entangled mix told in her memoir "Growth: A Mother, Her Son, and the Brain Tumor They Survived" forthcoming in spring 2023. Subscribe today to receive Chapter 1: A Reckoning.

No Comments

  1. Sheba Olenik on December 24, 2019 at 2:18 PM

    Thank you, Karen!

  2. Mary Beth on December 24, 2019 at 2:51 PM

    MERRY CHRISTMAS KAREN! and to all who read Karen’s lovely, funny, insightful posts!
    May your holidays provide opportunities for reflection, peace and JOY!

    • Karen DeBonis on December 24, 2019 at 6:10 PM

      Aw shucks – thanks, Mary Beth!! And back at ya – reflection, peace, joy, and HEALING.

  3. Mary Beth on December 24, 2019 at 2:54 PM

    Speaking of JOY, Karen, can you post a pic with your little neighbor friend. Ya know which one!

    • Karen DeBonis on December 24, 2019 at 6:12 PM

      OH – I forgot all about it! I don’t think I can post it here in the comments, but I’ll definitely share it somewhere. The more laughter the better!

  4. Mary Ellen on December 24, 2019 at 3:15 PM

    Love it! Peace, what we all need. Keep these reflections coming.

  5. Jack Herlocker on December 24, 2019 at 3:32 PM

    Thank you, dear lady, for your thoughtful gift! I am on Day 2 of retirement, which feels basically the same as day two of “taking time off at the end of the year to burn accumulated PTO” so… quiet to follow? Maybe? Things to do yesterday. Things to do and places to be today. Places to be tomorrow. Flight to Chicago to see our niece & nephew 😊 and my sister 🙄. Dealing with our father’s death and estate (if I got written out of the will then I can blow it off, yes?) and my sister 😐. But I hold out hope for the new year! 🎉🥂

    • Karen DeBonis on December 24, 2019 at 6:03 PM

      Day 2!! Congrats, Jack. It sounds like you’ll be so busy, you’ll have to go back to work to have some downtime. lol. (But don’t do it.) Good luck with the estate stuff- I hope it goes well for you. Whatever happens, I hope it’s a new year full of joy, for you, Deb, and your family.

  6. Laura on December 24, 2019 at 6:38 PM

    Merry Christmas Karen. This was beautiful. Now that I’m living with my parents we enjoy quiet moments together. It’s pretty great.

  7. Paula Ransbury on December 24, 2019 at 10:44 PM

    Thank you Karen! What a beautiful gift of peace. It’s one I will keep handy and try not to forget. 😉 Like you, knowing all those hectic days without a spec of space sure makes the gift even sweeter. Merry Christmas!!

    • Karen DeBonis on December 26, 2019 at 1:59 PM

      Thank you, Paula. As I write this, I guess we’re over the hump, but I’ll hope for many specs of space in the new year for both of us!

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