Monday, November 23, 2015

Looking forward to winter and its many holidays? 

For those who live in the Northern Hemisphere, it will soon be winter. I have spent my entire life in that hemisphere, so November, December, etc. through March is winter to me, even though it doesn't officially start until Dec. 21st. November is often pretty chilly, like it was this morning; 19degrees is winter in my book. 

Since colors are high up on my sensory awareness list, I associate colors with seasons, as do a lot of people. Smells figure in to it all,  tastes, and certainly, sounds as well. To me, blue and white is a winter mix; white for snow, blue for clear, blue skies. This brings me back to childhood days spent outdoors playing in fresh snow under that never-ending vault of sky blue. 

Christmas (THE winter holiday for my family, after Thanksgiving) was always green and red to me. I suppose the red clothing Santa wore, his sleigh with its huge bag, Rudolph's nose, and red bows and lights created the association. Green was for the evergreen boughs, mistletoe and holly leaves. Wrapping paper and cards were often red and green, too. But to really elicit winter for me, it's still sky blue and white. 

I remember seeing my first artificial Christmas tree, which was silvery in color and made of aluminum. I heard adults comment about the audacity of such an invention, but I had no bias in mind about artificial versus living trees at my tender, young age. This tree with its silver branches was decorated with blue and white lights and balls, and I thought it was a spectacular thing!

It wasn't until I was much older, and had dealt with living trees as indoor decor, that I decided that artificial Christmas trees were a boon to mankind. Getting scratched by dry, dead needles and branches as I removed ornaments and lights was not my idea of holiday entertainment. I 'd say that pre-lit trees are my favorite thing about modern holiday conveniences. Next in line is the pre-lit wreath. (Note: That piney smell can be achieved using fragrant oils or a few real boughs on the mantle or in a vase or something.) I still love to see real wood-and-needle trees all decorated and lovely, but - like wild animals - only if they aren't in my home. 

New Years Day brought to my mind, silver and gold colors. Adults got dressed up to celebrate the eve and to ring it in, and that included sparkly gold and silver jewelry and sequins. And there was always snow and ice which glinted silver and gold in the lights of the stars and moon outside. 

But, still, the sky blue and white predominated during the remainder of winter. I'll even go so far as to say that the dark brown of wet dirt co-mingled with those two colors, and was held in as high esteem as the blue and white. When you saw that mud on your boots or your sled runners, you knew you were having some fun! 

Colors, smells, sounds, tastes - if we stop and think, we all have a sensory memory of certain seasons. I hope touch is in there, too. Hugs and the warmth of being surrounded by other human beings should be as much a part of the winter season as anything. If you can recall being hugged and feeling the warmth of loved ones during any of the winter holidays, consider yourself fortunate, because you are. If you can add smells and tastes of delicious food to that, you are extremely fortunate. If you can also add the sounds of singing songs together, walking amidst the chatter and laughter and bells of the season, taking in the lights and ornamentation with a light heart and feeling of joy, you are truly blessed. If I neglected to mention presents and gifts, that was not an error. If we have all the rest, that part is inconsequential and pretty much over the top, isn't it? Gifts and presents should be reserved for those who don't have the gift of family and friends to brighten their holidays. A warm meal, a warm coat, a warm hat, or a scarf and a pair of gloves is all it would take to bring someone less fortunate joy during the holidays. Imagine a world that contained a jolly sprite who picked up gifts from all the homes around the world instead of delivering them, and gave them out to needy people for us. I wonder why it isn't that way? I think someone, a long time ago, made a mistake about that.

      Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Holidays, Peace on Earth and Good Will to All in 2016!