Dec 23, 2013

Home for Christmas



















Today’s post is part of Kelly and Marg’s Virtual Advent Tour. I don’t have much of substance to contribute this year, to be honest, but I’ve been participating since 2007, and this holiday season I’m in the kind of contemplative mood that makes you appreciative of the sense of continuity engendered by the traditions you create. So here I am sharing some of the things that make me extra happy to be home for Christmas this year: the Christmas tree at my parents’; my small collection of special ornaments, which I didn’t get to see last year; the tinfoil star with my name on it that my father made for me when I was four; my much beloved cat; and a stack of reading material to enjoy while cuddling said cat in the coming week.

In a strange way, all of these things make me think about time. A few weeks ago I read Adam Gopnik’s Winter, and one of the five essays that compose it is about the connection between the long dark winter evenings and memory. It took a little while for Gopnik’s point to really resonate with me, but more and more lately I’ve been thinking about that essay. I know the end of the year is an arbitrary division of time, but rituals and human-made markers do have their power, and for me the holidays are largely about pressing pause for a little bit and making sense of what it really means to have lived through another year. We think of what has passed and of what’s to come; we touch base with the people we love; we do a tally of sorts; and we fiercely hope we’ll all be able to gather again to do the same next year. I love Christmas, but I can see the season’s potential for the revival of losses and for great sadness. Everything feels especially fragile during the dark, quiet days of winter — but for now we’re all here, and there are lights we can huddle around.

I hope those of you who celebrate it have a most wonderful holiday season. I’ll be back in a few days with my favourite books of the year and stats post, but until then, may your holidays be filled with comfort and warmth, and may time treat you all kindly in the coming year.

23 comments:

  1. Okay, so that book that is open... What is it?? So pretty! I am hoping to read In Ashes Lie sooner rather than later. I really loved Midnight Never Come and have been resisting the urge to buy her newer series before finishing this one... About time I read her! I hope you, M, and the family have a fabulous Christmas, Ana. Thanks for participating again!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Kelly, that's Tinder by Sally Gardner. I can't make up my mind about what I thought of it overall, but the illustrations were gorgeous. Happy Christmas to you and yours too!

    Memory: *hugs*

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is going to be a quiet Christmas for me as most of my family won't be coming to visit. So I understand being in a more reflective mood. Wishing you a wonderful time with your family! May you enjoy the holiday season!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Merry Christmas, Ana! As a gift to you, I have just cracked open Zadie Smith's NW and hope to finish it by the end of the year :-)

    I hope that 2014 brings you much less life drama than did 2013! Also, that you read 1491 and Thorn! Hehe.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Home is the best place to be for the holidays! Merry Christmas to you!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I hope you have a merry and joyful Christmas, Ana - how can one not, when one has a cat? ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Happy holidays! I hope you have a wonderful midwinter, too, and that your coming year is full of warmth, laughter, and many, many good books.

    ReplyDelete
  8. i hope you have a wonderful holiday, friend.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you so much, everyone <3

    (And Aarti, don't worry, I plan to! yay for NW :D)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Happy, happy holidays -- may it be filed with peace and joy!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Ooh A Company of Swans, hope you love it! Merry Christmas Ana, glad you were able to make it home for Christmas this year. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  12. There is nothing quite like Christmas at home! (Home at my parents' house that is.) We don't do it often, but it is nice to have snow, and to not have to be in charge of all the cooking and cleaning and stuff. Alas, I won't be getting much reading done, but tis the season.

    ReplyDelete
  13. For me, as I'm growing older, Christmastime has shown itself to be more bittersweet than I ever expected, and I suppose it will continue on in that trend. I've always loved this time of year, but it seems more and more fragile to me every year.

    Beautiful pictures, beautiful post. Merry Christmas, Ana! Hope your holiday is filled with good things. =D

    ReplyDelete
  14. Merry Christmas Ana! Enjoy celebrating with your family!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Love this post so much Ana! Glad you're with your family :) Hope it's a wonderful Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  16. What a lovely post! Your thoughts on memory really resonate with me. Merry Christmas, Ana, and may the New Year be a wonderful one for you.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Beth F: Likewise to you <3

    Joanna: I really am so far! Eva Ibbotson never fails me in the comfort reading department.

    Sandy: Indeed! I hope you and your family are having a lovely time.

    Megan: Yes, yes, you get it exactly. Merry Christmas to you too x

    Stefanie: Thank you and the same to you!

    Chris: Merry Christmas, my friend! Big hugs to you.

    Robin: Thank you so much, and the same to you and yours!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Your Christmas decorations are so pretty! Heh I went home too and so I'm celebrating with cats as well (they already stole some stuff from the tree). Hope your holidays are wonderful :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Belated Merry christmas to you! I am looking forward of more posts from you in this site.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Bina: I hope you're having a great time! My cats are all old enough that the tree has lost its shine, but my parents now also have a one year old kitten who has tried to climb it on numerous occasions :P He's really sweet, but still at that age where he's completely hyper.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Aw, you have an ornament with #luvana!??! cool. Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - interaction is one of my favourite things about blogging and a huge part of what keeps me going.