This time of year, we’re getting Christmas cards and letters in the mail. Smiling faces of friends and family wish us happy holidays. Letters share lives filled with travel and moving and new babies. As a kid, the Christmas card collection hung from the bookshelf all month long. When we got married, our letters went in a red holiday basket. Lately, they go in the trash. It sounds harsh, but it’s difficult to read about everyone else’s perfect lives at Christmas. Especially when we did nothing.
At this time of year, I love hearing about holiday traditions in other countries! Like how on Christmas Eve, they eat KFC for dinner in Japan and they go to bed with a book and a candle in Iceland. Christmas Day in New Zealand is celebrated with a big family barbecue (because it’s summertime there) and in Poland, an extra space is set at the table in case someone shows up uninvited. These traditions, full of stories and songs, makes me want to belong.
Here we are. Hello December. For some of us, it’s all sparkly and excitement and yay Christmastime. For others, it’s taking a deep breath before we plunge through what we have to do and is it over yet? Last year, I was poised for a deep breath and then I discovered something that was transformative for the holiday season for me. I’m calling it festive winter.