Late December: the scent of pine trees adorned with colored lights and candles and family traditions repeated year after year: It is a time of celebration, of rituals, of coming together to share in holiday celebrations, family traditions cherished and remembered. Family stories of holidays past are told and retold. We join in singing familiar songs known since childhood, and we prepare and the holiday meal. Yet all too soon, this time in December also signals the solstice, and with the advent of winter, the passing of another year.
Finding the time to write may well be difficult in this busy season, yet many memories of holidays past will be triggered or recalled. Some holiday memories are often happy or humorous but others can sometimes be sad. That’s true of my own—there were wonderful times of warmth, celebration and laughter, but sometimes, losses, family tensions, sorrow. If you are inspired to write during the holidays, then think about some of the lasting memories of your past holiday celebrations: the traditions, people who mattered, place, events and time. Why are they memorable? What emotions do they trigger? Why?
As I end this brief post, I am including an excerpt of the poem, “Toward the Winter Solstice” by Timothy Steele, because it not only acknowledges some of the shared enjoyment of the holiday season–no matter what religious backgrounds we enjoy. And amid the lights and color, the poet signals the awareness of the solstice and end of another year.
Although the roof is just a story high,
It dizzies me a little to look down.
I lariat-twirl the cord of Christmas lights
And cast it to the weeping birch’s crown…
Friends, passing home from work or shopping, pause
And call up commendations or critiques.
I make adjustments. Though a potpourri
Of Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jews, and Sikhs,
We all are conscious of the time of year;
We all enjoy its colorful displays
And keep some festival that mitigates
The dwindling warmth and compass of the days…
From: Toward the Winter Solstice, 2006 (excerpt)
Thanks to each of you who follow this blog, I wish you the happiest of holidays, filled with the stories, the small delights, and the warmth of family and friends.