What a year this has been.

I am so tired. Are you exhausted too?

But I am also craving December festivities like never before. We’re only two-thirds through November, but the advent calendar is ready to be hung, final gifts are trickling through the door, and I’m just about ready to wrap up “normal” life – whatever that means these days, with a deadly pandemic and another lockdown – and give into the treacle-slow days of crafting, baking, and playing, our favourite Winter songs playing in the background on repeat.

I suppose this is the beauty of rhythms; when all else is chaos and uncertainty, rhythm soothes and calms us. We don’t know when we’ll next see our families, but I know that soon we’ll be decorating our Christmas tree and baking gingerbread. We are unsure of when a vaccine will be ready, but I can put on Elizabeth Mitchell and cut paper snowflakes. We have no idea if we or our loved ones will be all get though this crisis safely, but will light the Chanukah candles and think of those we love.

I’m tired, and I’m ready to go into hibernation just as soon as I finish my list (see below). Who’s with me?

On my end of Autumn to do list:

  • Refresh our daily and weekly rhythm for Winter. This coincides with Frida having a developmental shift into the “second plane”, or beginning her 6/7 year change (depending on which philosophies you follow), so we would be doing this even without the seasonal shift, but it’s well timed. We’ll be slowing right down, with lots of time for crafting, baking, playing, taking long cold walks, and snuggling on the sofa. I’m pretty sure we’ll push most of our formal learning back until the new year now – I’m feeling exhausted and just not sure I want to be planning out science experiments or tackling new maths topics unless Frida is REALLY keen. Lots of learning will happen in our daily life and reading, and it will be wonderful.
  • Bring down all our Winter, Christmas and Chanukah books from the loft – and add a few new ones into the mix. You can find some of our favourites here: Winter / Christmas / Chanukah. (Please note these are affiliate links, meaning I get a small percentage of the price at no cost to you – and you get to support independent bookshops at the same time! Win win win.)
  • Dream up a puppet show. Frida is becoming more familiar with the story of Christmas now, but I’d like to tell her the story through a Waldorf-style puppet show on the first day of Advent, before she opens any calendars or digs into the books.
  • Refresh our Winter (listen here) and Christmas (listen here) playlists.
  • Write out some favourite Winter verses and songs for morning time and laminate these for use during morning time (I will share them on the blog when I’ve done so).
  • Change our current Autumn seasonal display to a more Wintery one, including some nice foraged greenery and a few new hanging fairies.
  • Finish last bits of gift buying, and get these posted to their intended recipients nice and early to take the Christmas post into account. As we don’t know what Covid restrictions will look like, we’ll be posting gifts out to family and friends. I’ve already bought all of Frida’s gifts (because people keep asking me: for Christmas she is getting rollerskates, a book, and a new outfit, plus a stocking with a few smaller bits; for Chanukah she will get some smaller presents – pens, pencils, books, etc – spread out over eight nights).
  • Bring down all of our Christmas decorations from the loft, ahead of our tree arriving next weekend (yes, still technically November. I’m excited to make our home feel lovely and festive).
  • Do a big deep clean of the house ready to enjoy through December. Put things in the loft, recycle or donate things we no longer need, and
  • Roll some new beeswax candles with Frida.
  • Pull down some of my favourite cookbooks and plan out a delicious, nourishing fortnightly meal plan which can then be looped throughout the coming months. I’ve never done this before, but I’m hoping that it affords me some mental space without compromising on great food. I also want to make a list of baking projects to do each week with Frida – I’m looking forward to making mince pies, apple pie, fruit cake, and stacks of gingerbread.
  • Make a list of craft activities we’d like to try, keeping it all simple (pomanders, dried fruit slices, popcorn garlands, paper snowflakes, bird feeders, wrapping paper, window stars). I’ve bought a gorgeous Advent book for Frida this year called “Christmas Is Coming! An Advent Book” which has some suggestions in, so I need to leaf through that and make sure we have everything we need to avoid disappointment on the day.
  • Make a little list of super gentle festive-feeling films, ballet recordings, and documentaries we can watch together. I do feel sad that we won’t be going to Christmas markets, plays, or concerts, so hopefully this will plug the gap.
  • Finally, I’m also going to book myself a day of reflection before I take six weeks off work over Christmas until the end of January (leaning hard into those hibernation vibes). I’ve worked really hard this year, writing my first book and starting work on the proposal for a second one, working with hundreds of families through my online courses, running workshops and talks, and all of this through homeschooling – and during a pandemic, with wild anxiety. My word for the year was “stretch” and goodness, how prescient it was. I truly have stretched myself, and I am really, really tired. So I’d like to make some time to reflect on this year, and give myself some credit for scraping through it.

I’ll share some of my favourite winter poems, verses, and songs soon. Until then, feel free to send me your favourites!

Posted by:Eloise R

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