Surviving the season

I always struggle with this time of year – the rampant consumption and waste, the relentless forced jollity, the pressure it puts on anyone who is struggling emotionally or financially… the whole thing makes me bloody uncomfortable. At the same time I have all the urges towards light and companionship that underpin the seasonal insanities.

Moving to Stroud has made it much easier to buy from creative people, and some of my festive shopping has been sourced from local artisans. This makes me happier, knowing I am contributing to the viability of people who are doing good things rather than adding to the stashes of already wealthy shareholders. Money spent with local craft people stays in the local economy. Who knows where money spent on big business will end up? In tax havens, perhaps.

I haven’t decorated a tree in four years. There wasn’t room on the boat, and the flat isn’t large. This year I have decorated a tree, and I feel really good about it. The tree is outside. I’ve decorated it with a bird feeder and apples. It attracts small birds, and the comedy of upside down squirrels, who have enjoyed the apples.

I have made some gifts, I will be making others, not as a seasonal activity but as something I mean to keep doing through the year. If I put twenty or thirty hours into a rug – as well I might, or fifty or so hours into a piece of embroidery, appliqué or tapestry, there is no way I can sell it for money that reflects the time. I don’t want to devalue my work, (realistic prices means I’d earn about a pound an hour, and I’m not playing that game any more). Giving away what I make feels a lot better as a process, and not as a midwinter thing, but as how I intend to spend a fair chunk of my future.

I’ve made puddings to share with people – these are the only traditional festive foods I am at all excited about, and it turns out that a pudding can be steamed in a slow cooker! I will not have a moist home as a pudding consequence. Puddings are something that matter to me. My great grandmother used to make a big batch and boil them in the copper (otherwise used for laundry) I never knew her, but when I make puddings, I feel a sense of connection. Puddings were not a viable option on the boat and last Christmas I was too low for much innovation. This year, things are a bit better.

On Christmas day, I have a three hour walk on the agenda, and something similar for Boxing day. I will be out on the hills, with the sky and the wild things, out in the places that are innocent of the lunacy we’ve built up around midwinter. Other than that, I mean to spend the next week quietly, making cake, spending time with people, and even having some days off. On the whole I find that the less I co-operate with the noisy, commercial wastefest, the better a time I have of it during the dark part of the year.


About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

12 responses to “Surviving the season

  • Foghorn The IKonoclast

    I have no problems with that but the Black Friday and massive hordes are not for me.

  • Louise Green

    I had no idea you could steam puddings in a slow cooker…wow. I love steamed puddings but never make them as the steam is a nightmare and the cost of having the hob on for 2-3 hours is horrendous let alone the environmental impact. So thanks for the tip….my pudding life is now changed for the better 🙂

  • Radhika

    As a strong believer in make your own festivals, I think that your way of honoring this time is as valid as many other and for anyone reading becomes a wonderful alternative. Happy Christmas! 🙂

  • Christopher Blackwell

    I envy you for your walks seething that I used to do daily often for a hour or so every day. But with the walker bigger chore and sometimes I can fall even using the walker.

    There is often a certain humor to my falls, for I am very lucky to never hurt myself. I do ceremony without using walker, if done carefully I do alright normally.

    But I was getting ready to go around the circle with my incense and some how I tripped. I use a very thick glass holder, meant for votive candles, as my incense holder, and the floor of my sanctuary is concrete. I also practice sky clad. So as I am going down, my thought is not on protecting myself from the fall, but to protected the thick glass holder from shattering on the concrete and from having unnoticed loose glass slivers on the floor to step on with my bare feet. So the glass was protected completely in my hand and kept upright as I fall to the floor. I didn’t even spill out most of the ashes though I did launch my charcoal. I got up and used my white athame to scoop up the charcoal and put it back. I got some more incense and continued with my interrupted purification of the circle.

    As to my body, I ended up with one slightly scraped elbow and one slightly scraped knee. Once the ceremony was over, after thanking the goddess and the god for protection from serious injury, I dressed and walked back to my home using y walker and later put some Hydrogen peroxide on my wounds. Ironically though I had scraped them a bit, I didn’t even bleed any from it.

    Yes I am aware that at some point I may have to use my walker in ceremony. I do already use it in my meditations each might as I am a bit too old to keel on a concrete floor, even with padding, and the seat of y walker is just a comfortable height for a tall person like me to sit in for my meditations.

    • Nimue Brown

      ouch. Glad you came through ok.

      • Christopher Blackwell

        I have pretty good luck surviving things with little damage. Over a decade ago I was in what appears to have been quite a spectacular car crash, but I had to call up the local newspaper the next day to find to what happen. I had been checking the speed on my speedometer when my body locked up ad I could to move anything, not even my eyes.

        The newspaper reporter on the article about the crash told me I had hit a Lincoln Town Car at 65PH and my pickup did a double flip over the top of the car and the pickup landed on its wheels and blowing out all four tires. Outside to two black eyes and bruises I had twelve stitches lower forehead and nose.

        Most of the time I try not to have so much excitement as it tends to be scary, expensive, or both. But that was why I gave up driving.

  • greenmackenzie

    What a wonderful and honest post, and it speaks to my love of the still dark places at this time of the tiny sun. Im all for this balanced with some fun, but never forced or fake, and of course lots of lovely home cooked food…..none of which ever goes to waste with three large hairy dogs in the house! Your tree sounds beautiful….i’ve never been a fan of killing a tree just so it can be decorated…..we put lights on a cherry tree outside our front window for this time of year, along with the bird feeders. The tree was planted for my beautiful Grandmother when she died 18 years ago…..

  • Terry

    Love the tree description. Sounds like a very quiet, peaceful time of the season. I also prefer not having a chopped tree, I wanted to get a live one then plant in my yard afterwards but didnt do so this year so no tree this time. Next year I’ll do the live tree. I put birdseed out especially in winter and i place several bowls of fresh water out on my back deck for the birds. Love the simplicity more then the commercialism of the season.
    Blessings to you and yours and Joyous Chrisrmas.

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