Mon. Dec. 9, 2019: The Joy of Mixing Holiday Traditions & Creating Your Own #upbeatauthors

bag-21467_1920
image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures via pixabay.com

Monday, December 9, 2019
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde

One of the things I loved about living in NYC and working in theatre was that we had an international community and all shared our holiday traditions.

I often joke that, for me, the holiday season starts on October 31 (Samhain/Halloween) and lasts until January 6 (Twelfth Night).

Only it’s not really a joke.

Today is December 9. Sunday, December 1 was the First of Advent. We have a table with an advent wreath, and one candle for each of the Four Advents, plus the bayberry candle at the center that is lit on Christmas Eve. We burn the candle, adding one each Advent, until we burn down all five on Christmas Eve.

We have red ribbons hanging down the sides of our doors and windows, topped with pinecones and other decorations. We fasten the cards we receive to those ribbons, so we can enjoy them all month, and have fond memories of our friends.

On the night of December 5 going into December 6, we celebrated St. Nicholas Day. We put out a shoe (a clean one, or one with a little bowl tucked in it) and in the morning, it’s filled with candy, and maybe a funny little toy. This is a tradition both my parents celebrated as children in Germany.

This upcoming Friday the 13th, we will celebrate Santa Lucia, with white candles and spicy cookies. There’s a lovely Scandinavian festival at a nearby Lutheran church, and we often attend. Sometimes, during this time, one of the Episcopalian churches in the area has a concert of Celtic harp music, which we also enjoy.

When possible, we pop into Boston to see THE NUTCRACKER. (In NYC, I saw it at NYC Ballet, where one of my friends is a dresser). If we don’t get to go and see it, at the very least, we play the music.

Over the weeks, we watch favorite holiday movies like WHITE CHRISTMAS, CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, MIRACLE ON 34TH ST., ELF — and often try some new ones.

On the 21st, is my biggest celebration of the season, the Winter Solstice. At sunset, we let the entire house go dark. Then, we light the fire in the fireplace. From there, we light the candles. Then, we turn on lamps and the outside lights, to welcome the turn of the wheel and the return of the Sun. It’s on a weekend, so I’ll be able to stay up through the dark night and get some sleep the next day! The following night, at sundown, Hanukkah begins. I miss celebrating it with my NYC friends.

We celebrate, German-style, more on Christmas Eve than on Christmas Day — and open our gifts on the night of Christmas Eve. Then, we settle in, Icelandic-style, and read one of our new books that night. We also burn a bayberry candle for good luck.

Christmas Day is about food and music and reading. And the stockings. We open our stockings Christmas morning — and eat panettone for breakfast.

Then comes Boxing Day. We generally rest and read and work on leftovers. And the beginning of Kwanzaa. When I lived in NYC, I joined my neighbors in their nightly Kwanzaa celebration.

I do a meditation retreat on New Year’s Eve, to start the New Year mindfully. It also means a good meal, another bayberry candle that straddles midnight, and prosecco. At a minute before midnight, we open the back door to let the old year out. At a minute after midnight, we open the front door to let the New Year in!

They don’t do First Footing out here on Cape Cod, which is a shame, because I love that tradition — right after midnight, you let in a dark-haired neighbor in the front door first, and offer a dram of whisky for luck.

New Year’s Day is about pork before noon (usually Eggs Benedict) and then a big meal later in the day. Relaxing.

I usually keep my decorations up until Twelfth Night (January 6). Most years, I have a party on Twelfth Night, no matter what day of the week that is, and then take down the decorations on the 7th. The last few years, we’ve been snowed out. I have a feeling I will take my decorations down this year on the 4th & 5th, because it’s the weekend, and I’ll have the time.

As new friends come into the mix and share their traditions, I add them in, too.

What are your favorite traditions of the season?

Thurs. Oct. 3, 2013: Unexpected Encounters

Thursday, October 3, 2013
Dark Moon
Sunny and pleasant

Busy day yesterday. I got some stuff done in the morning, pitched for some jobs, etc, worked on a review.

Just after noon, I got in the car and drove to Providence. Beautiful day to drive. First stop was at Brown University, where I had a great meeting with my former archaeology professor. She is just as terrific in person as she is in class. Great meeting. And someone with whom I’ll stay in touch on projects.

She also asked if I knew a professor here at Brown — who turned out to be one of the favorite playwrights I worked with off-Broadway in New York nearly twenty years ago! I was thrilled to hear about him again — we’d lost touch over the years.

I went over to the theatre department and he had a few minutes in between appointments, so we got to do some catching up! I’m delighted he’s in such a wonderful environment as Brown — this is one of the smartest, most talented people I ever had the pleasure of working with in New York. And to cross paths again, so unexpectedly was even better!

I had a parking ticket on my windshield –even though I was one space OUTSIDE the designated “don’t park here today zone” — obviously they targeted me because I had out-of-state plates.

Got lost getting back to the Mega bus stop, because the Mapquest directions had very little to do with the actual streets, but I figured it out. I was a half hour earlier than the bus’s scheduled arrival time, but the bus was a half hour early, so it all worked out.

My friend jumped in the car, I zoomed across four lanes of traffic, and off we went, back to the Cape. I haven’t seen her, probably in nearly twelve, thirteen years. But we picked up as though it was a few hours, not a few days. Great fun.

We had a glass of wine on the deck, I cooked dinner, we relaxed with a movie. Well, if the movie had been any good, we would have relaxed. In spite of having one of my favorite actors in it and an interesting premise, it was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen IN MY LIFE. And I work in film, so I’ve seen my share of stinkers. It was the first time I ever saw this actor put in a flat performance, too, and I’ve watched his work for about fifteen, twenty years. I’m not going to trash anyone publicly, and hopefully, I will never be asked by this individual what I thought of it. There’s a chance we might land on the same project a couple of years down the line — and I’ll just try to avoid this particular topic! 😉

Have to polish and send off a review this morning. One of the people to whom I pitched yesterday was interested in samples, so I sent that off this morning. Fingers crossed.

Looking forward to having some fun hanging out with my friend.

Devon

Published in: on October 3, 2013 at 6:48 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , ,