The idea for this post was born in part from an email exchange between Ivy and me, wherein I was explaining why I’ve been so lax with my blogging lately, which really, amounts to nothing more than lack of time these days. During the course of our conversation, wherein we’d mostly decided to write about “things we love about December,” I’d made a comment about how I have sort of a love-hate relationship with December. It was Ivy who connected the dots there, and suggested we write just that: a post about what we love, and what we loathe, about this month. So, here goes.
- Christmas! It’s the show stopper of the month, and pretty much just about the biggest holiday of the entire year. As such, it’s also the impetus for so many smaller celebrations along the way (and often, ones that involve lots of food and festive cocktails!). Having kids who are young enough to still “believe” in the ‘magic’ and in Santa, makes me everything about the holiday exciting.
- Christmas Vacation – the movie. This is one of my most favorite movies ever, and each year when December rolls around, I love having an excuse to watch it yet again. When Chevy Chase karate chops the reindeer antlers? Hysterical.
- Mary’s Cookies. Every year, my friend Mary takes a couple of days off work to bake dozens upon dozens of cookies, which she then packages up in tins, and distributes to her friends. It’s something I look forward to every December — and so do my kids! In fact, once I had kids, my tin was super-sized, to accommodate all the other eaters who were now dipping into my stash. Wasn’t that thoughtful of her? This year’s tin hasn’t arrived yet, but here’s a little peek at last year’s batch. Can you see why this makes my list of Loves for December?!
- Christmas lights. I love how, during the darkest days of the year, if even for a brief time, all the holiday lights make those early evenings seem not quite so dark. I love the over-the-top, done-up houses as much as the tasteful and traditional.
- Seasonal cooking/baking. Cold and oft-dreary December gives me the perfect excuse for a return to cooking up some of my favorite comfort foods: pot roast, chili, and meatloaf, to name a few. Of course, this month also provides a good excuse for baking: rum balls, sugar cookies, ginger-anything, and wine biscuits are some of the perennial favorites. (You didn’t think Mary’s cookies last the whole month long now, did you?!)
- Insane holiday shoppers. People just seem to lose all grip on their sanity at this time of year. Check out this article/video, from Black Friday. Now, Black Friday actually falls in November, but really, that is just a technicality, because this kind of frenzied mayhem is all related to Christmas shopping.
- The Busy-ness. I wrote on my other blog, cat fur to make kitten britches, recently about the fullness of our schedules these days, and how it’s making me a bit of a crazy lady. It’s not that there isn’t plenty of good and fun stuff occupying the spaces on our calendar, but there is always just so much stuff ~ so much, that I sometimes feel like I’m just surviving the holidays and not really enjoying them. I always wish I didn’t feel as if this month is swallowing me whole.
- Short, Gray days. December days seem to run on in a never-ending stretch of gray, as if we’ve been covered in a gray flannel blanket and we can’t work our way out from underneath it. Maybe the blanket analogy is not so good, because that almost seems to imply that there is some warmth. There isn’t. I have a friend from Finland who once told me that they always look forward to getting snow there, because once it snows, everything lightens up a bit and isn’t so dark anymore. We could use some snow ourselves right now.
- Temptation at every turn. There are always so many challenges to eating well this month! Today, I am having lunch with some former co-workers, then Friday night I am going to a cocktail party/holiday house walk with some friends, and Saturday night we have a holiday open house to go to. I suppose I could just drink club soda and bring along my own rice cakes, but somehow that just doesn’t seem as festive.
- The decorating. Don’t get me wrong; I do like holiday decorations. I just don’t like all the work that goes into getting them out, putting them up, and then putting them away. This year, we only did a fraction of what we would normally put up, both inside and out, and even that felt overwhelming. I suspect I will feel less overwhelmed on the other end, however, when it comes time to put everything away.
What are your feelings on this time of year? Do you also have kind of love-hate thing going on with December?