Mrs. Claus and Creativity

Posted by Donna Rouviere Anderson August 13, 2015

I had a grandmother who was next door to Mrs. Santa Claus. Not only did she look just like Santa's wife, she acted like her – always ready for a laugh, funny story, scrumptious goodies and a cozy, happy evening in her warm kitchen.

She died when I was 13, and I’ve since spent a great deal of time pondering about why she was such a happy, creative person. Here’s my list of some of the reasons:

  • She was surrounded by those she loved. She lived in a valley with relatives and close friends who loved and respected her as her neighbors.
  • She had secure employment as the postmaster for her community in addition to helping to run her family’s ranch.
  • She had a reasonably amenable marriage with a lot of time to spend with her husband and  other family members.
  • She was surrounded by a beautiful and healthy natural environment.
  • She lived debt-free in most of her later years.
  • She had no commute time, rat race or need to dress up to go to the office.
  • She enjoyed good food, animals, grew house plants and had a small garden.
  • She was generous with her modest means and her time, serving as an election judge, writing for her local newspaper and performing other acts of service.  
  • She had time to pursue her talents, which included exquisite handiwork, cooking, writing to friends and relatives and entertaining.
  • Although she was overweight (what do you expect from Mrs. Claus?), she was otherwise healthy into her advanced years.
  • She lived in a community that had almost no crime and a low rate of serious social problems.

So what are the ingredients for a happy creative professional’s life?

  • Association with family and friends.
  • Steady, interesting creative work that provides a moderate income.
  • The time and opportunity to develop both professional and domestic talents.
  • A minimum of commute time and rat race.
  • Contact with the beauties of nature.
  • A minimum of destabilizing social problems.
  • Good food.
  • Animals.
  • Plants and/or nature.
  • Regular service.
  • Little or no debt.
  • The means to be generous.
  • Enjoyment of beauty.
  • An honest, respected reputation.
  • Robust health.

Most creatives want to serve the world, but we need to remember to extend these charitable feelings to ourselves by providing ours with this kind of healthy environment, which becomes a fertile ground for our talents to flourish. 

The kind of environment I have described was common when my grandmother was alive, but has become less so. Having this kind of life requires charting a clear direction and setting aside blocks of time to bring your life into this kind of order. A desire to have this kind of orderly environment leads naturally to simplicity, civility and an increased sense of balance, beauty and good design. It is the beginning of solving 90 percent of your problems.

To end up in the right place, you need to choose a destination.  You can’t go everywhere. Then you need to choose the way you want to get there. Only if you choose both carefully will you have a joyful life and result. You can’t go to a  chalet in the Swiss alps without a stunning mountain ride. You can’t go to Santa Cruz without enjoying the Central Coast of California along the way. The destination is intimately connected with the journey.



Everyone needs a life with healthy food, interesting work, family and friends, clean safe housing, a reasonable income, spiritual and emotional growth, development and use of their talents to better their lives and the lives of others, and something worthwhile to commit to.

Start with these needs and build a world that pulls them all together and you’ll find it will be big and wide and free and satisfying.