Holidays are usually a time when we pull a 1500-piece puzzle out of the closet. There’s always someone who wants to jump in and help. Everyone has a preferred method to solving the picture of a Van Gogh or a photograph of a flower garden. Usually, the edge pieces are collected as they are easily identified by their smooth side. Those go together pretty easily. The next step is simply to group by color and try each one.

The interior sections are much more tricky. Sometimes you think you’ve matched the color but find out later that the underside of a shoe was really the shadow of a pot. The colors aren’t what they seem. Textures betray the eye. So grouping can only go so far. At that point, you have to let go of the images and focus solely on the patterns of the edges. Do they go in or out? Are they fat or just bitty things? And every once in a while your brain clicks- I’ve seen that before.

Grouping, and grouping some more based on more attributes, all contributes to solving the puzzle. Instead of getting persuaded by the golds and blues appearing out of some dream state, keep what makes the shards the same and what makes them different top of your mind. Then click- the edges are joined.