Yuletide – Celebrations and Decorations

For a lot of people, this time of year is filled with stress and depression glazed over with the guise of requisite and expected holiday cheer.  For some there’s not enough money to purchase gifts and even when there is, there’s high-impact shopping and impatient crowds to deal with.  For others, it’s the spending time away from loved or lost ones.

One of the main celebratory meanings behind Yule was that the days stop getting shorter and the long, dark nights become less so. The concept that the hardest part is behind us and worth a twelve-day-long celebration is, well, celebration worthy, in my opinion.  Getting together at the end of the darkest days of the year with friends and family to celebrate the light, celebrate the lives of those lost, celebrate community, and celebrate life is something that I feel may have been lost along the way.

I want this to be a positive post, not a rant (those come later) so I won’t focus on where I feel it’s been lost.  I want to focus on happiness, laughter, light and love.

For me, a Viking from Michigan who loves the cold and snow, this season is very very important to me.  Yes, shorter days and longer nights, colder weather and greater inconveniences thanks to inclement weather, but I like to look at the positive aspects those things bring:  Shorter days means I get to burn more candles and oil lamps.  Colder weather means I get to wear sweaters (a thing I love) and cuddle with my family more.  Cold and snowy weather… well, that’s just a Northman’s playground… snow forts, snowball fights, sledding, hikes in the woods with the wind whipping around you in blurry white gusts.  For me, that’s fun… getting to share that with my family, Charlotte and Ben in particular, is a little bit of heaven.

The day after we brought Ben home, there was a huge snowstorm here that dumped a few feet of snow on the ground overnight and pretty much closed everything down for the week. Charlotte and I got to go sledding and go play in the snow.  It was amazing. I got to spend the week inside, with the love of my life, our daughter and our new-born son.

It reminds me to appreciate those moments, and to remember what this holiday is really about:  Celebrating the fact that the darkest part (of whatever) is behind us.

This year, we have an actual Yule log we’re working on together.  We will have our usual Solstice bonfire on Friday night (scheduling reasons, we know the actual Solstice is on Sunday), we are putting the book tree up tonight (pictures to come tomorrow), the house has transitioned from the scents of cinnamon and harvest/pumpkin spice (Autumn) to pine/cedar trees (Winter).  The shield-maiden made decorations, seen in her tutorials here and here.

All in all, it is gearing up to be the best Yule/Solstice yet, for us… and with that said, I hope it is becoming that for you all as well.  If you’re having trouble, start within. Start by finding something, anything, that reminds you of a happy time this season and work from there.  Decorate your living space with whatever makes you happy, whatever symbolizes the end of struggle and renewal.  If you’re still feeling not in the Yuletide celebratory spirit, feel free to comment, or email and I’ll be happy to send words of compassion and love.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my celebration with you all.  Happy Yule!

Thanksgiving/Thanksgaming 2014

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  Most of my fondness comes from my childhood.  I remember every year heading over to my grandparents’ place, where the rest of our extended family had gathered.  Cousins ran around while my grandma, mother and aunts got the dinner ready.  Everyone brought some dish or dessert (mostly desserts).  Around two o’clock the food would be laid out, buffet style, over kitchen counters and the isle and then took seats at one of the many tables set up throughout the house.  Yes, there was an adults’ table, and several kids’ tables.  After was more running around for the kids, football for the adults and hours devoted to seconds and thirds.  Come the evening, after board games and pinochle, the leftovers would be parceled out.  We’d all head home, stuffed and happy.

Continue reading Thanksgiving/Thanksgaming 2014

Booktree 2013