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Sunday, December 8, 2013

The joys of December

paparutzi, Flickr

Despite being a full-blown and irreducible summer lover, I have to admit December is fun. Today, in a laid-back, "don't feel like making an effort" mood, I decided to put together a list of reasons:

The aesthetics and the festive atmosphere

Colorful lights and decorations, Christmas carols, Christmas markets, and the first "real snow" that stays on the ground... all that puts me in a joyful mood. We don't go crazy with thematic decor, but the little bit we put, I really do enjoy. Isn't it nice to lounge in a living room solely lit by the Christmas tree? I love it. In December I also, for once, indulge in wearing more makeup, sparkly nail polish, jewelry and cute dresses (the rest of the year I'm content as a tomboy).

The beliefs and traditions... whether commercial, spiritual, or both

Some people spend a little for Christmas, some spend a lot. Some people tie it with religious ceremonies, some don't. Each family has its own beliefs and traditions, but what's for sure is that December provides plenty of reasons to reconnect and rejoice together. It starts on December 1st with the Advent calendar. I have friends who build their own, complete with actual presents for each day. We just buy the ones with the tiny chocolates. Everyone is happy. I have one child and a half who still believes in Santa (I say a half because my oldest is asking a lot of questions but not yet ready to let go of the magic). We write to him, and he writes back. On the 24th, we all love following him on NORAD tracks Santa, using it as an excuse to learn about geography. We also follow "reindeer" tracks in the backyard (it's a deer haven here). And this year, after much pondering, we gave in to the Elf on the Shelf. You know what? It's fun! D and I have a blast figuring out what the elf will be up to each night, and the kids have a blast discovering it in the morning. It's not even about a "behavior watch"; we do it for the sole pleasure of it.

As for buying, we do buy, but reasonably. And honestly, since we are so frugal the rest of the year, it's nice to have an excuse to do a little bit of shopping!

The food

December is THE time of the year I let myself indulge in those little treats I don't really allow myself the rest of the year. Real champagne. Real chocolate truffles. All in moderation, but still. I also love those "pot-luck" parties where everyone brings their "specialty". I don't use December as an excuse to go completely off-track with my clean eating, but I do allow myself a bite of everything. I used to dive head-first into desserts, but since I was diagnosed with a tree nut allergy, that has tempered my enthusiasm. Luckily or unluckily, there are many treats I cannot have anymore. In any case, there are many things I eat (or drink) in December and no other time.

The parties

Life is so busy that December sometimes is the only moment we get to see some people. I appreciate that. There are a lot of parties, and it could seem exhausting, but I take them one at a time, and savor each moment. Yesterday was D's work party, which is always a blast, especially because the people there have such fascinating things to say about their job when I ask about it: "I've been slicing lots of brains" and "I've been extracting lots of cerebrospinal fluid" are common answers. Ain't it fun. I try to sound as cool when I say "I've been reading and writing a lot about brains and cerebrospinal fluid". Nah. Not quite as cool.

The music

I said it, I love Christmas music. Yesterday, we went to the Nutcracker with the girls. The last (and only) time I had seen it, it was in Montreal (huge production), and I was about twelve. Notwithstanding the fact that I'm "slightly" older and that the Halifax production is more modest, it was just as magic. The girls were on the edge of their seats and did not blink once!

The Nuctracker: shivers inducing

The rest

For me, it's sacred: I don't work between Christmas and the New Year. In my thirty-something years of life I think I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times I worked the last week of December (I coached Christmas swimming camps). It was fun, but I'd rather be home doing the things I never have time to do: put my feet up and read by the fire, have endless conversations with D while sipping on an afternoon tea, or play Legos with the kids.

What do you think of December? What are your favorites?


  1. I admit to love seeing all the elf on a shelf photos on Facebook! I love the music, I love the decorations although I hate re d and green together and prefer more untraditional trees...and firmly believe that you have to experience the Nutcracker live at least once in our lives. :) being much better about healthier food choices this holiday season, and actually enjoying it more because guilt has been removed from the season!

    1. Seeing all the silly things the elf could do convinced me! :-)

      Our tree is multicolored and full of memories: each year the girls get a new ornament that evokes something important that happened in the last 12 months.

      Thank you for your comments!

  2. December is my wife's favorite month, hands down! I'm probably a June person. It's warm, but it's not hot during the day. The evenings are nice and the bugs (mosquitoes) aren't in full swing.

    1. I love June too because the summer is still full of promise! :-)

  3. Christmas is a mixed blessing time of year for me. Some years great, some not. I pretty much just let everything hit me and usually the good stuff sticks!

    I've worked often over Christmas. Someone has to put y'all back together again after too much decking the halls, lol!

    1. That's a good philosophy to deal with pretty much any mixed blessing, Dr. J. I'll remember it.

      Good thing you're there for those who need it!

  4. This might be one of my favorite of your posts! I enjoyed learning a little about your month of December and what all you do and enjoy!!
    And, I'm guessing that your husband is a brain surgeon?

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Kim! It was a pretty lazy one on my part!

      Keep guessing! ;-)

  5. I love all the decorations, I love meeting family and friends, I love all the music, I love getting dressed up...I love the snow..I love all the Christmas markets..I love mulled wine...for me this month is just magical :)

  6. Love your blog Julie. Glad you are enjoying December too. I'll be waiting for one on January/February as I really need some reasons to love those months! :-)

    1. Hey A! That's something I thought about while writing this post... now I have to come up with reasons to enjoy the winter months...

      ... to be continued...

  7. as a misfit who doesnt celebrate christmas I LOVE THE MONTH.
    all about enjoying and no stress.

    1. I'm glad you do!

      My trick is to get everything ready BEFORE the start of December, in order to enjoy it fully. :-)

  8. Inasmuch as we can derive from archeological records, the earth is less than 5,000 years old, and this holiday is exclusively for Christians. Nobody else is allowed to play -- period!

    Now that that['s off my chest, as a secular Jew, living in consumer orgy, I still love, and look forward to Christmas, and that New Year thing too.

    As you have stated, all the celebratory rituals, and make bitter cold San Diego seem like an almost vacation-like place of warmth.

    The food, the lights, many many more smiles, parties, decorations, and seasonal fashions, et all, make this my time of year. People are just more friendly and above all that's what does it for me. But all the little rituals too, from the Salvation Army bell at the market, to songs in background, greeting cards. I love this. I wish I felt this good year round. It is ritual, above all else the keeps man tied to his highest destiny, that of giving. I love the rituals of Christmas, and the holidays. Makes one wonder why we put them away for 48 weeks or so...