As a child, the things I remembered and loved most about Christmas were the scents and smells of the holiday, but I think
the one thing I love most as an adult is that the holiday gives us the opportunity to create traditions we can give as gifts to our loved ones—memories that will remain with them long after that iPhone has left their pocket, and long after the soles on this year’s pair of shoes wear thin.
As for that Santa guy, I think I always knew who he was. I was one of those too-curious kids who didn’t know how to stop asking questions. But I’ve always been fascinated with the history of traditions and I tend to explore those in all my books. Highland Fire gave me a great opportunity to explore a culture whose mysterious end eludes us, but whose culture lives on even in our everyday lives through our superstitions, our song, and yes, even some of our traditions.
This year, we did our very first “solstice walk.” Some of our friends and neighbors got together and before our walk through the snowy woodlands, we broke bread from a circular loaf and stood in a circle to give a few words of thanks for the bounty of our year. And then thirty deep, we marched through Winter Wonderland—literally, for what else could you call a pristine landscape, dressed with snow, under a glowing moon? Fat flakes fell through the trees, and for a moment, I could almost forget that yards away there were paved tracks for motorized vehicles and bright neon lights lining the drives. Out in the woods, the evergreens didn’t need any artificial lights to have the look of Christmas. Their tips dusted in white, and illuminated by the nearly full moon, gave new meaning to lines of a Christmas poem I learned as a child:
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below…
I whispered the words from rote, like a prayer, and looked around at the gift of life here on Earth. All that was missing was Santa’s sleigh sweeping across the northern sky. Now this was a moment when I could almost believe in Santa …
Merry Christmas everyone! May you be hugged by the memories of Christmas Past and find joy in the spirit of Christmas Future.