Dear Readers: Now hear me out: I didn’t plan to vomit holiday cheer all over the December edition of this year’s Gazette. It — as vomit does — it just, sort of happened all of a sudden and entirely out of nowhere. Seriously. It’s like; there was Thanksgiving and then, BAM, there came Christmas and the rest of the holiday season.
If I may, I whole-heartedly place blame on this month’s contributors. They’re just so in the holiday spirit this year. Seriously; just check out the great stuff everyone submitted; from tree-shaped poetry to stories about Hanukkah gifts, this edition offers a healthy serving of holiday goodness. There are even columns for people who have a hard time getting into the holiday spirit.
But, if I’m really honest, which is one of the things this time of the year is all about, I really can’t place all the blame on the writers; after all, I’m the one who makes the themes.
Go ahead and cue Taylor Swift: “It’s me. Hi. I’m the problem, it’s me.”
I really do love this time of the year. There’s something refreshing about the crisp air and bright wintry sun. And, while I don’t like the cold (even our fake cold where the mornings are chilly but it’s run-in-shorts weather by mid-afternoon), I love the excuse to eat soups and wear sweaters with skirts and wool tights.
I also relish in the holiday cheer; my family and I are unabashedly in the decorate-before-Thanksgiving camp and holiday music plays in our house and our cars for at least six weeks. I bake cookies. I wear themed pajamas. I have special scented candles. HOLIDAY RUGS? Those are my favorite.
Maybe my deep dive into holiday magic is an attempt to wipe away the worry and stress of real life. After a whole year of deadlines and juggling adulthood, the holidays offer both a reflection and a reprieve.
I get to simultaneously think about the struggles, gains and setbacks of the year while taking a break from all the activities where I struggle/gain/experience setbacks. I get to recharge and rethink while enjoying hundreds of pretty twinkling lights.
Sometimes it works, especially when that deep dive involves spending time with friends and family members.
Sometimes it doesn’t, like when it involves buying a bunch of junk (yes, one can buy too many holiday rugs). But every now and then I experience a nugget of ajamoda (or sparkle and radiance as Marcia Singer writes in her column this month) that can only be defined as holiday gospel.
I define holiday gospel as that moment you feel inside your tummy when things go just right. When you go, “Yes!”
It’s that moment when the kids open up presents Christmas morning and they’re just STOKED.
It’s the feeling of a home-cooked meal on the table.
It’s the comfort of bills paid at the end of the month.
It’s laughter during a phone call with your friends and family.
It’s being able to help out others if you have the means to do so.
This year feels different than the past couple of years and maybe that’s why we went overboard with the holiday spirit. It’s because it feels necessary to go overboard. It feels important to go big AND to go home as well because connecting with each other and burrowing in at home this holiday season are equally important. After two winters of isolation, this is the year we can reconnect with one another to share holiday gospel and experience ajamoda.
It’s my hope that inside our December edition you’ll find inspiration to explore the communities within our county so you can experience your own holiday gospel and ajamoda this season. Between our regular edition and our 2022 Sonoma County Small Shops and Holiday Gift Guide, our pages and website are chock-full with activities and events happening now through the end of the month. And there truly is something for everyone, from art gallery openings and ice skating to wreath making classes and birding opportunities. And of course, you’ll find a detailed listing of tree lighting ceremonies throughout Sonoma County.
You’ll also find articles highlighting delicious local restaurants to eat, as well as recipes for holiday dinners if you’re looking to serve something a little different this year. As always, make sure to flip through the pages for news from your local fire departments and town columnists.
Happy holidays to everyone!