This year, I've decided to re-think all the ways I celebrate the holidays. Kind of a . . .Kon-Mari of my holiday traditions. I know it's time to let some things go -- and then, perhaps, I can make room for the new and the different. Or just create some empty space to relax and enjoy.
And I'm kicking things off with a big Thanksgiving . . . shift. Because this will be the first year that none of my kids will be around my table. In fact, this will be the first year that NO ONE (even Tom) will be around my table!
This Thanksgiving, I'll be driving Tom to the airport . . . so he can fly off for another fishing adventure at his favorite lodge in Patagonia. I remember many, many months ago, when Tom was first arranging his trip, and he told me it would mean flying out on Thanksgiving Day. My first thought was . . . (gasp) Not Thanksgiving! But that thought only lasted about 15 seconds. Because . . . why not? We already knew the kids wouldn't be able to come home for Thanksgiving this year. It would be just Tom and my dad and I anyway . . .
So why not celebrate Thanksgiving on a different day??? We'll be celebrating with our turkey dinner tomorrow night!
(And isn't this the perfect way to start my holiday shake-up?)
Up here in the north, Easter - and especially an early Easter - is very often accompanied by cold. And snow. And definitely UN-spring-like weather. (I remember, many a year, dressing up in new Easter finery -- and then piling on winter coats and scarves and boots and hats and mittens.) (And I remember thinking how ludicrous an OUTDOOR Easter egg hunt would be.)
You've been such a notable month, December. Full of activity. Warmer than ever. And gone in a flash! (Of course, you're also ushering in the new year with ice and sleet and snow. Cue winter . . . )
Here's what's happening . . . RIGHT NOW.
Watching . . . Movies. All the movies! Tom and I have been on a movie tear lately (because this is the season for all the movies we've been waiting to see). Before Christmas we saw Spotlight (excellent; my favorite so far), Room (good - but the book was better), and Brooklyn (great - and far better than the book). This week (so far!) we've seen the new Star Wars (so fun), The Big Short (excellent, plus awesome soundtrack), and Joy (Jennifer Lawerence is great; much better movie than the reviews would have you believe).
Reading . . . In the ears -- Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (Elena Ferrante) (Neapolitan #3); on the page -- H is for Hawk (Helen MacDonald). Earlier this week, I finished the challenging, heart-breaking, and eye-opening Between the World and Me (Ta-Nehisi Coates). (Really . . . everyone should read this one.) I'm also enjoying my new Christmas gift cookbook Mark Bittman's Kitchen Matrix.
Knitting . . . I've just picked up my never-ending sweater again. (You know why it's never-ending don't you? Because I'm never-knitting. . . ) (I WILL finish, though.)
Listening to . . . a Solstice playlist. Tom and I hosted a Solstice party this year, and we created a special playlist for the party. It's, well . . . very eclectic! We chose songs about the sun, sunshine, light, darkness, winter . . . and burning (as in candles) -- and it beats the heck out of Christmas music!
Dreading . . . the January People at the gym. (They've already arrived, actually.) (I hate January at the gym.)
Planning . . . How to move forward with my intentions for 2016. I have some cool things in mind, and I'm looking forward to putting some of those plans and ideas into action.
Humming . . . this one, from the Gorrillaz. (I have it on several playlists, but heard it again in The Big Short the other day.)
Wondering . . . what the new year will bring! It's always kind of amazing to look back and see all that happened in the year just ending - expected and unexpected. So I'm just wondering what will come with the new year.
Itching to . . . just sit and knit for awhile. But there are so many other "shiny objects" to play with right now . . .
Organizing . . . my digital photos. Ugh. What a monumental undertaking. My advice: DON'T store all your photos (like. . . for years) on your hard drive. And, really. Get rid of the bad ones and dubplicates right away. (Just sayin.)
Delighted by . . . a new Alabama Chanin kit I received for Christmas from Tom. (He got a big hint.) (It's the wrap skirt!)
Needing to . . . clean out my refrigerator. And clean my oven, too.
Enjoying . . . Erin and Keith! Thanks to an extended vacation, I've got them through the weekend!
Celebrating . . . the end of a challenging year. (Although we've certainly risen to the occasion!)
Looking forward to . . . returning to my Regular Life . . . after all the Holiday Madness!
How about YOU? What's happening for you . . . RIGHT NOW?
December is always a crazy month. That Christmas Machine just continues to roll, and "regular life" just kind of . . . enters a vortex or something.
Sometimes it's best to just sit back and take a breather; to think about those things you truly enjoy about the holiday season.
I love to decorate my house for the holidays. This year, I've KonMari'd my holiday stuff, and pared down my decor significantly. I'm really excited about this. It was time for a change -- and way past time to simplify.
I love twinkle lights and candles. It's so dark this time of year! I like to brighten things up with little lights everywhere.
I love to watch Christmas movies. My favorites are Love Actually and The Holiday -- and, of course, White Christmas.
I love to get Christmas cards in the mail -- and especially if they include a family photo and a little newsy update. It seems I get fewer cards every year, but I really treasure the ones I receive -- especially from those friends far away.
I love planning (and cooking) a special meal or two for holiday celebrations. At Thanksgiving, I make the same meal Every.Single.Year. (And my family likes it that way.) At Christmas, though, I like to pull out all the stops and make things that are really special.
I love listening to Christmas music. It kinda drives Tom nuts, though, so I mostly only listen to Christmas music when he's not around. (Unless it's the Messiah. He loves the Messiah.)
I love the smell of pine. We have a "real" tree, so the fresh smell comes along with the tree -- but I also enhance it a bit . . . with pine-scented candles.
I love the special events that happen only once a year: Parties and concerts and the Nutcracker ballet. (I also like getting a bit dressed up now and again -- and holiday parties allow me to wear some sparkle!)
I love seeing all the wrapped packages under the tree. When I was a little girl, seeing those packages made me giddy -- like . . . hardly able to breathe, I was so excited. A little of that feeling still spills over.
I love the memories that the holidays bring: Christmases of my childhood; Christmases Tom and I shared in our early years together; Christmases with my own children. Wonderful memories are woven through pretty much all the things I like BEST about the holidays.
How about YOU? What do you truly enjoy about the holiday season?
See what the Ten on Tuesday gang has to say over at Carole's!
Thanksgiving . . . already seems like it was a long, long time ago.
But it was really just a little over a week ago that we all gathered together . . .
and laugh! *
Brian and Lauren were busy with preparations for their reception (more on that later this week), so they were (mostly) on the go.
Erin and Keith hung around, though, and jumped right in to the "Craft Friday" concept. (Making your own gifts, rather than shopping the Black Friday sales.)
Although I can't give anything away (there are blog-readers among their intended gift-recipients), I can say that they enjoyed the process AND their final results. (They also cleaned up after themselves!) (I love having adult children.)
Now that my kids both live so far from home, it's a rare thing to have all of us in the same place. It was wonderful to share Thanksgiving weekend with ALL of them.
I enjoyed every moment!
* When we were taking photos out on the patio, I was directing everyone AWAY from the grill . . . so we'd have a nicer background for the shots. These two??? Not so much.