“December” has always been synonymous to me with “Christmas,” which I’ve always considered a season unto itself. Since I’ve worked an outdoor Christmas job for the past 13 years, I have a lot of firsthand encounters with the weather! Despite that, it’s often difficult for me to slow down and truly appreciate the beauty of the onset of winter. Here are some ways I’ve been celebrating December so far.
1. Decorate with natural materials. Working with evergreens, twigs, or berries to make something beautiful is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world. This can be anything from placing a few fir sprigs around a candle on a plate, to bunching together a bundle of attractively-shaped branches, to making a wreath. Don’t forget the traditional decorations for birds: string popcorn into garlands, decorate pinecones with suet and seeds, or simply leave fruit hanging from ribbons.
2. Celebrate the Winter Solstice. Light a candle or a bonfire and celebrate that the darkest day of the year is past! If you want to curl up with a mug of glögg and a book of Norse mythology, even better.
3. Commit to eating seasonally. When consumers eat food that’s out of season (for instance, “fresh” tomatoes in December), it creates pressure to grow food in a way that is often exploitive, both to the land and the people who harvest the produce (check out Barry Estabrook’s Tomatoland for a great example of this). The way forward to sustainable agriculture lies in being in tune with the seasons, and that is paved by more and more consumers commit to eating winter vegetables in winter— kale, broccoli, root vegetables, and so on. Learn more about what’s in season in your area here!
4. Take a walk on Christmas Day. Christmas can be a hectic day for many people, but try to take some time to step outside and center yourself. Breathe the crisp air (or the unseasonably warm air, depending), look for birds, get your blood moving, and remember what the holiday is about.
5. Consider an eco-friendly New Year’s Resolution. I actually prefer the idea of replacing “resolution” with “habit:” think about one habit that you would like to cultivate in the upcoming year, and consider taking on an environmentally-related one. This could be committing to using a canvas bag instead of plastic, eating less meat, carrying a reusable water bottle, shopping at the farmers market, or doing a retail-shopping ban. Whatever you choose, let people know you’re trying to build the new habit so they can join you!
How do you celebrate December?