One of my favorite parts about the holiday season is picking a real Christmas tree. It’s festive and traditional, and the pine scent it leaves around home instantly makes me happy. There are plenty of places around the Philadelphia region where you can pick up live trees and wreaths, but I stumbled upon this perfect lot at the Lemon Hill Mansion. From the sprawling hilltop, you can see the Philadelphia skyline on one side, the Schuylkill River on another, and the historic mansion built in 1799.
Other great options include:
–Linvilla Orchards | Media, PA (also my favorite place to pick apples in the fall)
–Bustard’s Christmas Trees | Lansdale, PA
–Marsh Creek Tree Farms | Elverson, PA
–Willard Family Christmas Trees | Newtown, PA – Washington Crossing, PA – Columbus, NJ – Hamilton, NJ
–Terrain | Glen Mills, PA (for baby tabletop firs, garlands, wreaths)
This year has been an especially challenging one for me personally: a lengthy season of change, growth, healing. I committed the year to self-reflection and to an intense laser-like pursuit of my passions. At the end of it, the biggest gift I gave myself in 2017 was self-respect. It sounds silly, but for someone who seems almost hard-wired to want to make everyone happy, it was quite a difficult but powerful lesson. I stopped settling —- in all aspects of my life. I threw away the idea that valuing your own peace, even if it requires walking away from certain opportunities or certain people, is selfish; it’s necessary.
It’s been a year of toiling, essentially. I feel like a gardener who had to pull out the weeds growing in my life and get muddied up in order to make room for what belongs. But planting a seed has no instant gratification. You have to water it with intentionality and with trust — that it’s going to bloom beautifully in due time and that what is meant for your life will arrive there.
I’ve also challenged myself every day this year to intentionally practice gratitude, as in, wake up or go to bed each day reminding myself of at least three things I’m thankful for. I am so blessed to have a small but fierce circle of compassionate, genuine, and truly kind souls, and I feel so happy to have a career that allows me to meet so many interesting characters and tell important stories in a city that’s really captured my heart.
The quote that kept floating in my mind this year: “And still, I rise.”