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Seasonal Celebrations in a Snowglobe City

December 17, 2010
Bob’s Java Hut
Snowglobe City, USA

Writing is about honoring and reflecting upon life as it is, right now.  As one of my students said this morning, life is about learning to accept what is, even if it isn’t always what we want.  We may not want to stuff ourselves into bulky clothes and sit in a butt-clenchingly cold car with the defrost roaring, but it is what it is.

Despite the cold, despite the darkness, winter holds its own magic.  Hot coco and glittering snowfalls.  Branches of trees reaching up to the pale blue sky.  Holiday lights and white sky nights.  Rosy cheeks.  First snows.  Building snowmen and forts.  Skating on frozen lakes.  Winter solstice.  Glow-in-the-dark-snow on full moon nights.  Cozy nights gathering friends, drinking wine next to the fireplace. Books and candles and baths.  The camaraderie of helping neighbors and strangers get their cars unstuck after a snowstorm.  Sweating while cross country skiing in 14 degree weather, city skyline in view.

When I was a kid, the season meant snowball fights at the bus stop.  Thawing my frozen feet by the radiator after delivering the weekend Star Tribune.  Building a snow fort the length of my driveway.  Flying off jumps at Peppermint Hill.  My Aunt Jill’s house at Christmas Eve stuffed with family, food, and adventures with my cousins.  Falling asleep in church at Midnight Mass.   Warming houses at ice skating rinks.  Yelling “Happy New Year” from the noise of the house into the quiet winter night.  Sucking on icicles.

As Lucy and Oliver grow, I can live those moments again through their eyes—riding down the hill  in the backyard on their sleds, frozen cheeks and runny noses, daring each other to stick their tongue on a metal pole.  Leaving cookies and milk for Santa.  “Conversations” between the nutcrackers.  Reading the Polar Express.  Getting our tree at the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market under Highway 94.  Bonfires in the back yard.  Spotting cardinals, bright red against the almost-colorless landscape.  Taking the #7 bus to the Holidazzle parade—Lucy enchanted by the Princess and the Pea float, Oliver overcoming his fear of the witch on the bike behind the Wizard of Oz float.

Seasonal celebrations and traditions bring simple joy into our lives.  With our children, we can begin to rediscover and create seasonal celebration and traditions in this romantic snowglobe city.

Writing Exercise:

What are some of your childhood memories of this wintery season?  When you write, try to be as concrete as possible with your details, using all of the senses of your memory –what you saw, what you heard, what you ate, how you felt.  What holiday rituals and celebrations did you enjoy?  What holiday rituals and celebrations do you want to begin in your family?

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