Thursday, December 12, 2013

Day 6 of 12 Days of Christmas Comfort

Just my Cup of Tea

Guest post by Amber Strocel

When Joyelle put out the call for contributors to her Christmas Comfort series, I didn't think twice. I was in. It sounded like just my cup of tea. I sent her an email and let her know that I hadn't decided exactly what to write about yet, but that I would update her as soon as I settled on something. And then ... nothing.

I found this task of writing about kindness surprisingly difficult. I'm not sure why. I think of myself as a kind person. I volunteer with moms and new babies. I try to be a good listener. I work hard to be loving and gentle with my kids. And yet, when I tried to come up with a small act of kindness for the holiday season I drew a total blank.

There's a backstory here, which I should probably explain. I have worked really, really hard to reduce my holiday workload. I politely decline invitations, so that my schedule doesn't get too full. I eschew handmade gifts, not because I don't enjoy making things (I love making things), but because I don't want to put undue pressure on myself. I gave up on sending Christmas cards years ago. I love Christmas, and I want to keep on loving it, so I do my very best to reduce the number of commitments I'm making to myself and others.

Keeping all of that in mind, adding a kindness project to the mix - even a small kindness project - felt like it went against the grain of my holiday ethic. The answer immediately became clear: I needed to write about how I'm being kind to myself over the holidays.

I have been a tea hoarder for years. I can't walk by a tea shop without buying a new tea (or three). The resulting collection is a sight to behold. When I open my tea drawer for visitors, I often hear an audible gasp. However, for years I didn't drink a lot of tea. I just never quite got around to it. Recently that's changed, for various reasons. In part, I started drinking more tea to justify my tea stash to my husband. In part, I started drinking more tea because I'm trying to reduce my energy consumption by turning the furnace down this winter. And in part I've started keeping my kettle on the counter, instead of having to dig it out every time I want to make tea.
Sitting down in the morning to drink a hot cup of tea has become a welcome ritual for me. It's a small thing that I do entirely for myself. After the weekday rush of getting two kids up and dressed, fed and clean, with lunches made and backpacks packed, I need a few minutes to calm down. That cup of tea is just the ticket.
And so, this is the act of self-care I'm engaging in this holiday season. I'm taking time every day to drink a hot cup of tea. It's a small thing, but it grounds me, calms me, and reminds me that I matter. Because I do - and you do, too. I invite you to grab your own hot beverage of choice, and join me.

Amber Strocel is a writer, editor, mother, dreamer and soon-to-be second-time university student. Fingers crossed that a teaching degree turns out to be a better fit for her than her engineering degree was. She lives in the Vancouver suburbs with her husband, two elementary school age children, and one extremely grumpy cat. She works as the Managing Editor of, and she maintains a personal blog at

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