Snow falling in Norridgewock (Maine), December 2011.
Yesterday I wrote about the end-of-year pressures the holiday season creates in our culture — compulsive happiness, travel and social stress, gift-giving dilemmas and demands — and some of the opting out we’re doing this year. But I’m not a total sourpuss when it comes to Christmas. It was a magical time of year for me as a child, and not solely (or even primarily) because of the prospect of opening presents on Christmas morning. I liked the rituals of the season: the activities and pleasures enjoyed between Thanksgiving and New Year’s that recurred year after year, could to a certain extent by counted on — familiar, with subtle differences. A unique advent calendar every year; a new Christmas cookie recipe. Attending to the season is one way of slowing down, of mindfulness, during otherwise hectic times.
Here’s a list of five things I particularly appreciate about this pivot-point of the year. Continue reading