Holiday Prep and Blessings

Somehow, I managed to get all ready for Christmas five days early. Mind you, it took some planning and help from my son and hubby who shared cooking and housework duties while I did my thing. But the big day’s almost here and I’m so happy to be celebrating Christmas with little Ellie this year.

This time last year, our province was in a major lock down that prevented families from getting together. Ellie was four months old, so I figured she wouldn’t miss us, but this year she’s an energetic, curious sixteen months, who loves Christmas lights and purple bows. She also gets excited when her grandparents, uncle and great aunt walk arrive together. I’ll share a couple of photos next week.

Year-end thoughts will also be in next week’s blog, but right now I’m focused on family and gratitude for the blessings I’ve been able to enjoy. I never stop appreciating how lucky we are to live in this part of the world, and that our family’s staying healthy. I wish the same for you and yours.

Happy Winter Solstice, Happy Holidays, and a Merry Christmas to those who celebrate!

A Whirlwind of December Activities

Autumn 2020 was a fairly mundane, stay-at-home affair, as public health orders in our province forced everyone to avoid social gatherings by early November. The creative workshops I and colleagues had been facilitating were shut down, along with Christmas craft fairs and other public festivities. So were in-person gatherings on Christmas Day.

This fall is more normal, which means the past two weeks have been busy! I participated in two Christmas craft fairs (one 2-1/2 days long), facilitated 9 out of 11 creative writing workshops, babysat my granddaughter three days a week, and prepared for Christmas. The craft fairs were conducted with face masks, lots of hand sanitizing, and social distancing, when possible.

It’s a bit of relief to be slowing down this week. The creative writing sessions ended on Saturday, I’m not participating in anymore craft fairs, and I’ve finished my Christmas shopping, none of it online. Whew! It feels like I’ve gone from 0 to 60 since last year, but it’s been worth the effort. I can’t wait to celebrate Christmas with little Ellie and read her the new books I bought. I still have wrapping to do and shortbread to make, but I’ve slotted time for that.

Not my shortbread, just a baking reminder from Pixabay

Needless to say, I’ve haven’t written or edited much lately, and two out of three projects have been completely shelved this past month. I’ll make more time for writing after Christmas. The last week of the year is always a creative time for me, and a time for reflection.

How about you? Are you operating at a faster pace than last year? Was it easy to get back into it?

New and Old Traditions This December

Last Sunday, we went for a drive and didn’t head back home until it was starting to get dark. To my delight, many homes already had their Christmas lights up and some were displaying decorated trees in the windows. I totally get it. The need for Christmas cheer is more important than ever this year. Local news reports tell us that customers are buying Christmas paraphernalia, including cards, much earlier than normal.

As is my usual tradition, I decorated our tree this week, as I like to have it done by my son’s birthday in a couple of days. Three weeks ago, I started holiday shopping because I wasn’t sure if our area would have further lockdown restrictions by December. I’m not a fan of shopping online yet, although I’m getting there.

Sadly, many local outdoor lighting festivities have been canceled along with in-person fundraising activities, so I’ve been doing online donations. Christmas will look a bit different for many of us this year. Our gathering will be pared down, though we’re still planning a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. And there will be gifts to wrap, cards to mail, and favorite Christmas movies to watch, so lots of our traditions will be intact.

The biggest and most welcome change to Christmas 2020 is the presence of our little Ellie, who is now fourth months old. It will be awesome to celebrate with a young child again, even though she’s too young to understand what’s going on.

So, new and old traditions merge this month into what I hope will be an optimistic end to 2020. What hasn’t changed is the gratitude I feel for what I do have and the opportunity to give back in a variety of ways. Now that preparations are underway, let’s hope this last month of the year will be the best one of 2020 yet!