Sometime in November every year, I always think there's no way that I'm going to do the holiday thing. I fantasize about ditching all the traditions and going away to someplace warm by the ocean. While I don't rule out that this fantasy will become reality one year, December rolls around and something almost primal kicks in and I find myself comfortably engaging in the rituals that I associate with the shortest days of the year.
The truth is, I used to hate the holidays. For much of my young adulthood, they were about family obligation and using precious vacation days to travel to places I didn't want to go. Then I got divorced and Josh and I got together and I extracted myself from the obligations and refashioned my year-end rituals to ones more conducive to joy. I held on to traditions that I loved - many of them learned from my grandmother (Sans the dramatics about how no one ever appreciated what she did. Because I did, Gram.) I added new things that were fun for all the members of the family we've created, and I scaled things to acknowledge my ursine nature as the light fades - the part of me that just wants to hibernate. My goals have been to have things be beautiful, delicious, full of love and fun, while prioritizing the need for restfulness this time of year.
Next week, as we wind our way through the Solstice and wait for Christmas, I want to catalog some of the things I do every December to make these short, cold days a little warmer and full of light. There are decorations, activities (or lack thereof), yummy things to eat and drink, and gifts that we give each other. As I post, feel free to share some of your favorite things, too. I always appreciate inspiration from my friends.