The weeks leading up to Christmas and New Year’s were hectic and full of busy-ness, as they are for most of us. For me, they were a whirlwind of work deadlines (it’s our busiest season), enduring oral surgery and the ongoing healing process (I never want to eat pudding or jello again), organizing family gatherings, and spending late nights in the elves’ workshop finishing handmade gifts. Boxing Day brought shock and sadness with the sudden loss of a beloved cousin, and our Christmas get-together on the 30th saw tears and nostalgic remembrance alongside the laughter and celebration.
Although my family opted out of gift giving years ago, there are still some of us who sneak in “just because” gifts. This year, I wanted to put my sewing machine to good use, and I dusted off long-unused knitting needles. My focus was winter warmth, so each person received something designed to be cozy and comforting. There were rice-filled microwaveable hot packs/hand warmers for those wintry aches and pains, flannel infinity scarves in colourful plaids, knitted alpaca fibre leg warmers, and fabric bookmarks for a long evening’s read. Each one was a warm hug from me to my loved ones, and it brought me joy to give them.
I wasn’t the only one to “break the rules” and slip in a small gift here and there. My sister handed out these adorable good luck seed packets. There is a Scandinavian tradition that says that feeding the birds on Christmas morning, thus including them in the feasting that takes place inside your home, is an act of kindness which brings luck for the coming year. On New Year’s Day, I will be sure to scatter these seeds on our apartment balcony for the sparrows who often come to visit.
In 2018, I have tried to bring a little bit of magick into everyday living. Magick can take many forms, from small – like brewing a soothing cup of tea or giving a pair of snuggly socks to an aging mom – to the more showy and grandiose. If you read this blog regularly, you’ll know that I’m all about rustic simplicity and the wisdom and tradition of the past, so I like to keep my “magick” on the uncomplicated, more mundane side.
What do I find magickal? Pausing for a few moments at night to stargaze and pay homage to the Moon. Spending my lunch break at the local new age emporium, letting the crystals and gemstones tumble through my fingers. Soaking up the past in an antiques shop. Breathing in mint-scented fog, loving the rain, or wondering at the beauty of first snow. Gathering a nosegay of wildflowers and “weeds” for a homey bouquet. Filling my pockets with pebbles, acorns, moss or bark from a woodland walk. Hearing an owl call outside my window. The aroma of grassy meadows. Sunlight sparkling like diamonds on water. The warmth of a cat’s fur, and the bliss of its purr. Old typewriters. Eating my first macaron. Making an old family recipe, or working my way through a new craft project. Battered wooden tables, honey, rosewater and flannel. Stained glass. Peeling paint. Parchment and frankincense. Children’s laughter and the kindness of strangers. A new day, rife with possibility. Doing a job, and doing it to the best of my ability – then learning how to do it better.
Are you looking forward to the New Year? One of my faults is that I’m too pessimistic; I tend to “sweat the small stuff” – and I don’t suffer fools gladly. A comment from my brother last night about how he handles bad drivers (he doesn’t let anyone ruffle his feathers) inspired me to lighten up a little. Letting go of the stuff that doesn’t matter and focusing on the good – and the magick – in them, and in all of us, will go a long way to making 2019 a healthy and happy year.
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