December Dawns

Everyone seems to be writing about the start of December and the number of days until Christmas and blah blah blah.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, mind you, but I feel like my inspiration has been zapped out of me reading post after post about it.  Over the next month we will hear much discussion on holiday feelings, baking, presents, craft making as presents, and loss of insanity.

Up until recently, this season has never been a big deal for me.  Several times, I forgot that it was Christmas.  Then, when I had my daughter, I realized that if we didn’t recognize this season in some way, she was at risk of feeling left out of the fun when she reached school age.  I am not going to delve into my personal beliefs, as it is deeply private to me, but I racked my brains for a suitable way to acknowledge the holidays.  We settled on honoring midwinter, when the light returns, and gave simple presents on New Years day.  Ellette was the only one to receive gifts.  When she asked about Christmas, and why is it talked about in schools (Milwaukee has a good policy about not talking about religiously affiliated holidays in school, but Evanston is all about Christmas spirit – it may annoy me slightly…) I told Ellette that some people believe one thing, some people believe other things, and no one is wrong because belief and religion is culturally necessary (that’s the anthropology student coming out in me).

When Odin and I met and started dating, we visited his family for the holidays and I felt like they celebrated this season that way that it should be done – not that there is a wrong way, but everyone has different beliefs and ways for expressing those beliefs, and this way suited me.  The holiday season is about family, and not just blood relatives either.  If you need a place to stay, if you are lonely, if you are in any way connected with someone there, you are welcome to join.  Odin’s mother is spectacular at creating a cozy, welcoming environment, and throughout the week of Christmas, people flit in and out of the house.  On Christmas day, the kids are given their gifts – the only ones presents are actually deliberately given to, and then there is a game of White Elephant (more on that later).  The season to me is about being with loved ones, drinking coffee around the wood stove in the morning, sledding down the mountainside, and the endless supply of warm mulled wine.

So there is my little explanation of what we have been doing for the holidays.  This is the first year that I have felt compelled to knit gifties for people, and Odin has helped out.  Together, we settled on patterns for family, we picked out the yarn together – he bought it and I am knitting it.  So far, I have three halves of mittens completed (or mostly complete).  I created a bar graph for myself as a mental indicator of work completed – feels like I’m accomplishing something that way – and it lets me see how much more needs to be worked on to light a fire under my bottom when I start slowing down.

It is a chilly and cloudy night – sort of miserable right now, but there is a new craft circle happening just down the road from me.

This will be my first night there.  I will let you know how it goes!



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