I have to come clean. I hate Christmas. I have for many years. I get all excited to decorate the house and the tree in early November, but by the time the middle of December has arrived, I am ready to put everything away. I can’t stand traditional Christmas food. I mean, really, I can’t stand it. Turkey wants to leave my system as soon as it has entered it, traditional foods like tortiere and ragout just give me a pain in the chest and all that sugar makes my teeth ache. I won’t even mention the drinks and cocktails. About the only thing that sits right is a nice glass of wine. And chocolate of course. Chocolate is always on my holiday wish list. I fill the stockings with it so we can have a nice Christmas morning snack, along with our usual eggs benedict, of course.
Now New Year’s, that’s a much better holiday. I am not talking about New Year’s Eve with crazy parties and champagne, although I have had my share of those. I mean the first days of January. To me, the new year represents a chance for a fresh start. I like to spend my Christmas holiday cleaning up the house, finding things to give away so I can have the sense of a simpler, less cluttered life. I want to simplify my routine too. Simple meals of hearty soups, daily fresh air to enjoy the winter sun on my face and the warm glow that follows a day in the winter snow. (Of course, if I lived in a southern climate, I would be perfectly happy to enjoy the sun and do away with the warm glow caused by the wind burn on my face.)
I read somewhere that the Japanese like to spend their New Year’s Eve cleaning their house as a symbolic way to start fresh. I like that habit. My own New Year’s habit has been to take a flight to some warm locale where my husband and I celebrate the new year’s arrival near a pool with some tropical drink. We’ve been doing this since 2010 and we intend to continue with this tradition. Each year a different location, just the two of us for that special New Year’s kiss. Of course as we get older, maybe we won’t be able to wait till midnight, but we’ll figure something out.
Last winter, when the snow seemed to arrive exceptionally early and showed no signs of melting well into March, a friend of mine consoled me with some wise words. She told me that the cold was killing all the bad things under the snow, allowing nature to renew itself. In other words, the harsher the winter, the more brilliant the spring. I like to think of Mother Nature as having a nice long pregnancy while she waits to birth all the wonders of spring.
As for me, perhaps that is how I will get myself through winter this year. I’ll think of Mother Nature and all the wonderful surprises she has in store for April. I’ll enjoy the birds feeding in my yard, especially the cardinals, my favourites. I’ll get into my healthy routine; eat lightly, move frequently and consume sparingly. Or maybe I’ll just move to a warmer climate…