I'm forever dreaming of traveling a bit north this time of the year to take in the icy crisp fresh air, mountains, forests and snow. Most people want to escape to tropical climates, I crave a cozy farmhouse with a fireplace or a ski chalet with an outdoor hot tub overlooking a snowy mountain. When I lived in the Boston area, my annual winter escapes included ski resorts and cozy houses in northern Vermont, Maine and northern New Hampshire where I'd go to fully experience the beauty of winter and meet up with dear friends. We also had an annual ritual of driving up to Montreal to stay in an ultra cozy brownstone belonging to our dear friend and hibernate with him for days and days, doing nothing more than hosting house parties, watching films and making big breakfasts together. Now that I'm in northern Germany for two years, I've realized only this morning that I have not established a single wintertime ritual yet. I need to change this! What are your rituals? Do you have any to share?
Last year, I went to London in January, but for work-related things. Of course, the big Christmas markets that kick off in November and last until Christmas are fun but I need to establish some wintertime traditions that make January and February easier to bare or else I just may become homesick and I don't want that to happen. I have considered driving up to Denmark or renting a country home in France or even Germany, Scotland or Norway... just to have something to look forward to in the "dead" season immediately following New Year's Eve. My family (on my side at least) are all in the states but I'm lucky to have friends living in all parts of this world, with special thanks to the networks I had in place pre-blogging and of course, those I have now thanks to blogging... so I know that no matter where I go I could easily look up some blogger friends and have a really nice time. The beauty of online communication - the internet is a special meeting place. So now I wonder where to go and how to kick start some meaningful winter traditions.
Looking through a favorite blog of mine, Loppelilla in Norway, makes me feel strongly about the importance of creating new adventures for myself and new traditions, especially since I'm still very much a foreigner living here and so much of my previous life doesn't fit in my current world - my language, my memories, the things I grew up watching this time of the year on television that gave me a sense of connection and comfort, even the foods I ate - here the tradition is to eat goose, not turkey and that's not the same bird, ya know? It's different and from childhood on we connect through our senses and what we are exposed to the most becomes our comfort, our safety point... It's such an interesting time of the year for me as I rarely think about these deep things during other seasons, they don't really occur to me because I'm too busy to think about what I miss or need - I already feel quite full in many ways and feel as though I have no right to ever experience one ounce of melancholy but the truth is, this year I am feeling it a wee bit of it and my current cold doesn't help -- and now I'm trying to consider exactly how to change the course for winters to come. I'm a happy person and I want winter to be comforting, healing, cozy and full of hope and promise for the months ahead. I don't want to miss anything, I want to create new memories.
I decided to make Loppelilla's blog the decor8 blog of the week because it brought me so much peace and comfort today - her blog is like a warm hug from a parent, so please visit it as often as you can now and in the future as this lady is so talented in decorating her home and living life so richly yet so simplistically... It's inspiring to see and it's what I aspire to this winter as I'm decorating my own home - to edit more, buy less and be more imaginative in how I use things.
As soon as I shake this cold, I'm going into the forest behind my house to collect more branches only this time those with the white plump berries -- and pine cones. They are free, a gift from nature, and would in fact be a nice and simple tradition that I could start immediately on my own - to collect things in the forest to decorate at home with for December, January and February. I already brought in branches last week for my entryway that I've placed upright in a huge green vintage glass vase... And I always could bake cookies and make some yummy comfort foods that I cannot buy in stores here. And find a little cozy cottage to rent for a few weeks in the middle of nowhere. Yes. That sounds good.
I feel better already.