My holiday decor, filters courtesy of Pixlr
The holidays have always been kind of bittersweet for me. As a child they're great, because you get to celebrate with family and open gifts and have lots of food, but there are downsides there too - such as seeing relatives you can't stand, watching your cousins open up bigger and better gifts that anything you received, and your mom forcing you to eat grandma's nasty green bean casserole.
That was my experience growing up celebrating Christmas. It was the only night of the year (save for Easter) that I had to go to church and once I had reached thirteen or so, I no longer wanted to and was never made to again. But even as a child, the bustling noise of the holidays and the influx of people EVERYWHERE was always very jarring to me. I was always relieved after family gatherings to climb into the quiet car or close the door on a quiet house, and just breathe.
But I'm an introvert and so that's a given.
The holidays are a trying time for people like me. Lots of social gatherings just don't sit well with us. We'd rather stay in and listen to fun holiday tunes, read a book, watch a movie, cuddle our pets, etc. Anything else than go to several family holiday parties, the office party, or random meetings with friend groups. We'd rather shop online than brave a busy store, and riding transit this time of year is an absolute nightmare.
Over the years, I stopped celebrating Christmas and started focusing more on my own witchy celebrations. I adore the Winter Solstice - and while I don't really honor any deities this time of year - I love lighting candles, welcoming the sun back into my life, reflecting on the good things to come and the things from the previous year to get rid of. I love cooking or baking something hearty. I love decorating with all modern (pagan) holiday trimmings - we even have a tree in our studio this year! I love the tradition of gift-giving as well. I still celebrate Christmas with my family or my partner's family, but my own spiritual focus is on Yule. Which is tomorrow, incidentally....
I have a couple of job interviews lined up tomorrow. One is at 9 am for a Front Desk Coordinator position at a nice salon here in the Twin Cities. Another is for a data entry position with a language interpreting center in Midway. Both of them would be great opportunities, so I'm optimistic about something working out. That's the early part of my solstice.
Later in the evening, I plan to light a bunch of cinnamon scented tealights, bake some cookies and biscuits, and reflect on the idea of balance, which I desperately need more of in my life right now. Maybe the generous spirit of Santa Claus himself will grant my wish for a good job that I can stay with me and help support my partner with.
For Christmas Eve, we had planned on the possibility of going over to Wisconsin to visit some of my partner's family, but I think we ultimately decided against it. None of us like those people in particular and even the promise of free food and booze isn't enough to want to withstand the probing questions of close-minded bigots. Especially this year. So instead we might visit my partner's dad and the puppies in their new home. I'm not sure if we can swing a drive all the way up to my mom's for Christmas, but we'll see.
And we literally have nothing else planned. It's the most introverted and unbusy holiday season yet. I'm glad for it, but at the same time I wish I had an opportunity to engage in a little more holiday spirit. Maybe next year...
Just for fun, this was the Pinterest wish-list I put together: