Let's celebrate the holidays together...
This week I'll share with you a few bright images of my favorite holiday things, at home in Vershire.
Solstice has passed, and with it the longest night of the year, reminding us that even in the deepest darkness the light is arising, a new year is being born, or at least incubated, gestated, nurtured in the comforting protection of the snow-blanketed landscape, the cozy indoor gatherings, even the silent snowshoe adventures through woods and fields.
Now is the time of Christmas anticipation, the excitement leading up to this weekend's festivities that still feels so childlike, even when children are grown. The colors, the lights, familiar packages and decorations - these are a few favorite things I'm currently enjoying.
Holiday cards pinned to a hand-stitched ribbon
Vt. Boot Bracelets in festive holiday colors!
Of course, my very most favorite things aren't things at all, but my family, home, the sacred land and our loving community. Yours are just as special as mine, so I'll leave it to you to fill in their images in your mind's eye rather than embarrassing my closest relatives and friends by posting their portraits here. I'm pretty sure they won't mind. Well, maybe just a pawprint or so.
We tend to celebrate any and all holidays we can get our hands on and our minds around, varying from year to year aside from some repeating traditions. During the early homeschooling years we made a dreidel and spun it for Hanukkah, my son learning the accompanying song at Unitarian Sunday School. We've attended at least one Kwanzaa service, and both led and attended many a Yule-Solstice ritual celebration as well as performing the more traditional Christmas festivities. We do put up a tree, though we've downsized to a table-top version that still comes from our land and goes to feed livestock after the new year. My mother's mother's Christmas cactus is blooming.
Grandma Shook's Christmas cactus - carried all the way from Ohio
We hang decorations immediately recognizable from our childhoods, sometimes three generations - the yarn mobile of little felt peasants with pointy red hats, the wooden reindeer family, the handmade stockings. We listen to our favorite CDs even though everything imaginable is online. We plug in the tiny lights that, somehow, really should be able to be repaired. We eat all kinds of tasty treats and put cranberries in everything edible, and everything drinkable swirls with eggnog at one time or another.
We generally make it to at least one Vershire holiday gathering, whether it's shopping at the Made In Vershire Shop, singing around the Memory Tree or sharing supper at Soup Night. We still supplement the packages under the tree with stockings that are magically stuffed with fruit as well as candy and other goodies because even an orange is really more special if it's your orange, the one that came out of your stocking.
The road to town
And in Vershire, as in perhaps every corner of Vermont, Nature's beauty is the grandest decoration of all, the timeless backdrop against which all of our tiny human efforts at greatness are splashed. The bitter chill and stark loveliness of snowy winter set our good intentions aglow as we find our place once again in the circle of life, as the wheel of the seasons turns another round.
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