Life on the homestead has been a little quieter but a little merrier as we’ve begun preparing for the holiday season. Our Christmas tree is up and jolly tunes fill the house. As with all things from our transition from urban to rural living, the holidays are getting a little makeover. Some old traditions no longer have their place, and we’re creating new ones to fill our home for years to come.
This year, the rush of holiday shopping has lost its appeal. With a little one in the house, I’m compelled to cultivate a season that is special in her eyes—one full of warmth and love. I’ve used this time when most people hustle and bustle around a mall to reflect more about the relationships that have impacted our lives—the human ones, as well as the ones we have with our land and the activities we engage in. I’ll be the first to admit that the change in lifestyle isn’t one that has always come easy for me, but it has opened the door to many new blessings to our family that ring especially true this time of the year.
Having landed on this little piece of earth has perfectly placed us in communion with people we might have never gotten to know otherwise: mentors with years of experience to pass down, young families going through many of the same struggles we face, old friends with whom we’ve had the opportunity to reconnect thanks to the outlets our land has provided. During the holidays, we want to open our lives to those people—have them over for hot cocoas and Christmas candy-making and share moonlit hikes during the first hour of the new year. But we also want to take time this season to hold gratitude for our land and its resources. We want to cut a tree to bring in for decorating, and to use pieces of nature to add a special touch to our decked halls.
This weekend, we’re heading out to cut down a small cedar tree to make wooden disks that we’ll transform into ornaments and some branches to turn into swags for the windows. We’ll have friends out for soup and cornbread and take a laughter-filled hike along our muddy hills. Soon, I hope to erect a little bird feeder outside our kitchen window so we I can watch the birds that have decided to tough out our Kentucky winter while we wash dishes and prepare meals, and I’m sure we’ll have plenty of opportunities to sit pond-side to listen to the stillness that befalls the country landscape when it snows. This is a picture of what I hope our holidays will look like going forward. Fewer long lines at stores and crowded parking lots, less hustle and bustle, and more cozy days filled with the family and friends we love most on the land that has captured our hearts.