I’m a generally curmudgeonly person during the holiday season. There are approximately three albums of Christmas music that I can tolerate, I am not a fan of surprises, and don’t even get me started on tinsel.
I think this stems from too many years of traditions that weren’t really mine with forced family members who weren’t really mine, followed by several years of working in retail. A mall is a terrible place to be at holiday time; the smell of rampant commercialism mixed with an endless loop of pop-ified and autotuned carols… it’s just the worst.
All this to say, I’m a participant in holiday revelry of the Charlie Brown-iest sort.
When Rhonda Parrish put out the call for the Giftmas Blog Tour 2019 I jumped at the chance to be included in a fun thing for a good cause*.
*Good Cause: raising $1000 for the Edmonton Food Bank. Link to donate HERE
Fun fact! Every dollar donates THREE meals to hungry folks AND because it is Canadian dollars, my American friends can, for once, have their money go a little bit further!
And then Rhonda said that there was no theme and we could write whatever we wanted and, reader, I panicked. Because I can write under constraint–give me a theme, or a topic to research, any angle in to something that I’m not super jazzed about will help. But no theme?
Somehow I ended up here–writing about the reasons that I don’t like the holidays, but a) that’s a depressing post for a Giftmas Blog Tour and b) I realized recently that the older I get, the more I’m finding little things to do that I enjoy and which make this time of the year a much more positive experience than it used to be.
There’s a song, one of my favorites, by Adirondack singer/songwriting married duo Christopher Shaw and Bridget Ball called Light a Light that Bridget wrote for their first Christmas album, Mountain Snow and Mistletoe (one of the above mentioned three albums that I like!) Youtube link if you want to hear it!
It includes the lyrics:
Though it’s dark and it’s dreary
and it’s damp and it’s cold,
Though the days are so short
and the world feels so old,
Somewhere in the heart of the deepest dark night
is the promise of dawn
light a light, light a light.
It’s a song about being kind and finding joy and sharing it to light up the (in New England, anyway) coldest and darkest time of year.
In the past few years, I’ve starting taking that literally, and marking the Winter Solstice with candles and lights (and wine, usually). That’s the real day of celebration for me, anyway. Or rather, the day after, when we start getting longer days again. I do the Christmas thing because it’s what my family has always done and I like giving gifts to people, not because I consider myself at all Christian anymore. When F*cebook was a New Thing back in the day, and it asked for your religion I jokingly put “Sun Worship” in reference to the George Carlin skit. That’s becoming more and more true.
I’ve also discovered a slightly manic baking habit. I blame the Great British Baking Show for making me think I can be more capable in the kitchen than I actually am, but I enjoy it, and I clean up after myself, so it’s fine. And I really enjoy pawning off the things I bake on other people. In recent years I’ve 100% leveled up my Christmas cookies.
This year, I bought an advent calendar. It’s the Chateau de Gudanes one that I’ve been lusting after for a few years, because I adore all things Chateau (have you seen their instagram?? go check it out, I’ll wait.) That’s been a great addition for a little blast of holiday cheer at the end of the day.
Lastly, I like giving gifts. I get way more joy out of finding the perfect pattern to knit, or the perfect book to give a friend, than I ever did as a kid opening presents Christmas morning.
Which seems to be the perfect segue into why I’m writing this post at all. The Giftmas Blog Tour, as previously mentioned is an effort to raise $1000 for the Edmonton Food Bank, to spread a little joy and ease a little stress and hunger this holiday season.
**Thursday morning update– we’re at $625 right now, with four days to go–let’s do this!**
If you’re able to donate it would be much appreciated. If you can’t, maybe share the link in your social media? That link, again, is HERE.
But WAIT there’s MORE!
There’s also a RAFFLECOPTER drawing for all sorts of goodies including a pair of owl themed fingerless gloves that I crocheted, glow in the dark alien toys, manuscript critique, query help, a plethora of signed Advance Reader Copies… it’s the gift basket to end all gift baskets and you’re going to want to get your name in there.
And that’s a wrap!
Happy Holidays, everyone.