Whether it's snowy or simply chilly, December is a welcome arrival. With its hearty foods and layered sweaters, it's a chance for us to experience nature in a way that we simply can't any other time. It's the month of the solstice, the short days of the year, when the flickers of candles glow against walls and we allow ourselves to indulge in a bit more food than we actually should. We welcome visitors with cinnamon and nutmeg laced teas and cookies.
December days are not days to be muddled through, although if you turn on the TV and allow your brain to get wracked with manic advertising about all the things you're lacking, you might very well think so. The commercialism will do nothing but exhaust you and make you feel like you need to buy more to be "ready".
But the fact is, you're ready already. Giving comes from a completely different place than Target. Make some cookies for your neighbor. Stop at a local artisan shop and pick up some hand-rolled beeswax candles for your best friend. Give your mom a special family photo framed in something pretty. A special roll of yarn in a shade you know your cousin would love to crochet a scarf from would bring her great joy.
Honor the Winter Solstice. Open you heart to friends and family. Let bygones be bygones and pledge to love and not to judge one another. Shut off, as my mother would say, the idiot box and go out for a walk and look at the beauty available to you simply by stepping outside.
Sing. Play the piano, if you can. Light candles. Wrap yourself in a blanket and write your cards. Remember, with great clarity, the nice things people did for you this year and be grateful for their love. Don't complain how early the darkness comes. Light your life with a glow from inside. Invite friends in for a cocktail. Stock the freezer for the first snow.
Here is my December gift to you. The amazing George Winston and his rendition of Johann Pachelbel's Canon and Variations.