By Mary Tucker
December is one of the busiest times of the year; so many extras to add to the day of already busy lives. We begin preparations for the coming holidays: shopping, baking, cleaning, decorating, picking out the perfect tree, plus all the activities scheduled in Andes to be enjoyed with family, neighbors and friends. As the days rush by, a tiny internal voice whispers, “It’s time to slow down.”
There are ways to slow down and still have a wonderful time. Remember, the December holidays are primarily religious, so celebrate the traditions of your particular faith. Scale down some old traditions and start some new, as I have done. For the last few years, no baking fruit cakes and instead of dozens of fancy Christmas cookies, just four types of Italian cookies from my mother’s recipes. Gift giving is reserved for the little ones who wait for Santa. A small artificial tree takes the place of a live evergreen, but I still had fun picking a tree.
The day after Thanksgiving, the Tucker clan gathered at Fall Clove to pick out and cut two trees for two of my kids’ families. While bringing the trees from the fields, trudging through the wet, heavy snow, a snowball fight erupted . . . ages six to eighty participating, even the dogs. Then everyone came to my home to get warm, have hot chocolate, coffee, tea, and graham crackers. Our family gathering consists of a long drawn-out breakfast-brunch with everyone helping with the cooking, serving and cleaning up. Snacking, playing games, making wreaths, or napping takes up the middle of the day. Christmas supper is usually Howard’s Mumbo Gumbo soup (recipe in the Andes International Cook Book available at the library.) And then – – our boisterous version of the Yankee Swap, followed by desserts and coffee. That is our tradition for now.
We’ve had a week to recuperate from December, reflect on the past year, and make new ones. (Did you keep resolutions made in January? I was to go through and discard junk mail each day. I did, but sometimes it took a week.) For 2009 think of ways to simplify life, give up some onerous tasks, do what you enjoy, and remember, IT’S TIME TO SLOW DOWN. HAPPY NEW YEAR!~