December day

It was nearly 9p last night when I sat down for what felt like the first time all day and my first thought was, “maybe this is what happened to the whole first half of December?”

These have been full days, no doubt. The beauty is that by this point in life I have freely abandoned any holiday-related expectations that don’t work for me, so my days are full of too much of all the things I love about this time of year. So it was that yesterday I was hanging ornaments and wrapping packages in brown kraft paper in between making plum jam and screen-printing cards and tromping through the National Forest tree hunting. A very good day in my book.

I have also studiously avoided shopping of just about every kind (even online), a craft show last weekend being my major exception. And that sentence goes a very long way in explaining how I have learned to manage myself through December.

Before I give the impression that I’m a shiny example of sanity amid holiday crazies, let me assure you that is not at all where I’m going. It’s much more about choosing forms of craziness that best suit.

I spent many hours yesterday making plum jam. Back in August we gleaned some Italian prune plums but didn’t have time to process them so just stuck them in the freezer whole. I had a vague idea of holiday baking with them because the flavor reminded me so strongly of the prune treats at my Grandma Axtman’s holidays of my childhood. I didn’t have a specific item in mind so we poked around and plum linzer cookies were added to the short list of holiday baking projects.

Now I could have made the jam anytime in the last couple months, but I didn’t. So the day before I hoped to bake said cookies, I pulled that bag of still-frozen fruit out, inhaled the sweet smell of summer, and set about cooking them down. It took about twice as long as I had hoped it would, so yesterday’s candle-making project became this morning’s candle-making project. But our house smelled fantastic all afternoon and the candles will get made and maybe even while we are snacking on jam-filled linzers.

So it goes, over and over again. Days filled to the brim, and then just evaporating.