The warmth of the holiday season
It begins with the first cold breeze
Summer is a glorious time of fun in the sun. The days are long and the nights are pleasant. It is almost sad when that first cold chill hits the air. Well, sad for some people because that chill means that summer will soon be turning into fall. Other people experience a twinge of excitement at the thoughts of cooler weather and the festivities that come with it.
Soon the leaves will change from bright greens to rich reds, golds and oranges. The colors of fall are spectacular, to say the least. Raking up those leaves into giant piles becomes the weekend chore. Some lucky kids and adults have fun jumping into the middle of those piles. Hot beverages take the place of iced ones. Shorts and tees are traded in for pants and sweatshirts. Grilling outdoors is replaced with hearty stews simmering on the stove or in slow cookers. Ghosts and goblins go trick or treating and anticipation builds for the fabulous feast on Thanksgiving.
Soon enough, the rich fall colors give way to snow covered landscapes. Winter has a beauty of its own in the form of snow covered trees, hillsides and rooftops. The snow sparkles in the sunlight and ice formations are almost majestic. People bundle up and brave the cold to play outside in the snow covered land. Ice skating, skiing, building snow forts and snowmen and snowball fights are among the favored activities. Thoughts turn to Christmas and everything that the holiday brings with it.
We all know that fall and winter are part of the cycle of nature, but that doesn't stop us from enjoying every chilly minute of it!
If you take a walk during the fall, you may notice how much quieter it seems outside. Sure you hear that delightful crunch of the leaves underfoot, and leaves hitting the ground with a stiff breeze. However, even those sounds are somewhat subdued by the overall stillness. This can cause a calming effect on some people. Sitting outside or taking a walk in the fall can be so awe inspiring that people almost seem to tiptoe so as not to disturb the peacefulness.
The quiet that can be experienced during the winter months is unique in that you could hear a pin drop into the snow. The air is so still at times that it is almost eerie. You can actually hear snow being tossed around in the breeze. For people like me that enjoy moments of silence, the winter stillness is very soothing. This can be a great time for contemplation and holiday planning of course.
Every footstep, vehicle, train horn and voice has its own unique sound in the winter air. Perhaps it is this unique quiet and beautiful appearance of winter that makes it so much easier to anticipate the holiday season. That stillness may be disturbing to some people and that encourages them to plan for festive activities with friends and family. Maybe for others it invokes something within their souls to want to spend time with loved ones. Whatever the individual reason, the stillness is probably playing a small part.
A jovial season
What is it about the holiday season that makes some people more jovial? These people tend to be a bit more considerate, kind and friendly. Compassion and understanding are more prevalent during the holidays too. More donations of food, clothing and toys seem to occur during this time. Some people even volunteer to help the homeless and less fortunate of their communities.
Perhaps it is due to the cold weather that people are more caring. Maybe it is a spiritual time for some. It could be a combination of both of these things and more. Whatever the reasons, it is evident everywhere you look during the season.
People can be heard laughing and singing, sharing a cup of coffee with neighbors and helping each other in large and small ways. The blustery weather and holiday season seem to bring out the best in some people. It's almost like a time of bonding. People come together to dig each other out of snow drifts, shovel walks and get needed supplies.
People seem to enjoy the glow of beautiful light displays and festive décor throughout their communities. Those lights and displays seem to almost have a power of their own. Especially at night, the lights transform trees, houses and buildings into dazzling sights. Going out and looking at lights is a popular activity for many people. Some neighborhoods, and even entire communities, hold contests for the best light and holiday outdoor displays.
No holiday season could come and go without social gatherings. Whether in person or online, parties break the monotony of the cold weather blues. Dancing, singing, gift exchanges and of course lots of holiday themed foods are on hand for these occasions.
It seems to be a fact that the holiday season can soften some of the hardest of hearts and dispositions.
It warms the heart
Maybe some of us are just too sentimental when it comes to the holidays. It just seems that there are enough days throughout the year (too many in fact) where the focus is on all of the atrocities that occur. Turn on the news on any given evening and you are bombarded with death, destruction, warring countries and inhumane behavior. The holiday season is a welcome break from that real life horror. Don't misunderstand, those things happen even during the holidays, but at least we have something positive to focus on as well.
I am not blind to the fact that the holiday season does not halt all negativity in the world. It does, however, offer a ray of hope. It fills my mind and soul with a sort of peace and compassion. Life experiences have taught many of us to be cautious, and even suspicious, of others at all times. I don't like that, but it is a fact.
The holiday season is something I look forward to each year. It is a time when I can focus on pleasant things and experience the joy of giving. For me it is not all about gifts with fancy wrapping or fabulous food (both of which are nice). It is about camaraderie and bringing a little happiness to others. It warms my heart and soul to do nice things for others and share good times.
I love to decorate, give gifts, look at holiday light displays and host social gatherings. I enjoy making treats and preparing holiday meals. It is a time when I can relax a little bit and enjoy quality time with my loved ones. A time for making wonderful memories to add to the ones I already cherish.
Just think, all of this happiness starts with that first cold breeze that announces fall is coming.
© 2014 Tammy Cramblett