This month has been a very busy one indeed. I imagine that it is a busy month for most people no matter what they celebrate. As for me and my girlfriend, we celebrated Yule twice, lit candles for the fourth day of Hanukkah, and celebrated Christmas Eve and Day. One round of Yule found us in Spokane with the IEPG. We participated in a beautiful Ritual wherein the Holly King slays the Oak King so that the nights might be shorter and that new life can spring forth on earth. The second round of Yule was at home with the parents. We sent our wishes and blessings into the fire to be lifted into the air with the incensed smoke. All in all it was a beautiful night spent partly out of doors. Our kitty, Narcisa, wore her harness and joined us around the fire. She sat with Hannah on the lawn bench. I have hopes that she will be able to explore the outside with us bit by bit and yet remain safe. Already she rides in the car very well. What we're working on right now is getting her to associate her harness with the privilege of going outside - and that in order to go outside she must wear it. I know she's smart enough to grasp this concept but as of yet she is still young and squirmy and bitchy about the whole affair of putting the harness on.
For Christmas Eve I experienced something very strange. My boss lost her grandmother and had to leave to take care of her family (which I understand completely), and I spent the last few hours at the store alone. This is not usual for us at all - we always have two or more employees in the store at any given time for safety measures - and so this was my first time in this situation. We took measures to make sure I was safe but it was a bit exhilarating and scary to close all by myself having only closed a handful of times prior. The rest of the evening was much more relaxing however. At home we had pizza and movies. Hannah and I watched 12/12/12 which was absolutely awful. Then we watched the Radio City Music Hall Rockette's Christmas Special on Netflix. That was infinitely better than the other one. (We later watched 13/13/13 and now have finished out the whole set that started with 11/11/11 and have appeased the innate OCD that forced us to watch them in the first place).
Christmas Day began at six in the morning. My mother is the activities director for two assisted living homes in Hayden. Her residents are more than just people she plans activities for - they are a part of her life and steadily becoming her extended family. She put a great deal of her own money into making sure that they all had gifts to open on Christmas Day this year (in years past they often times are forgotten by family and others) and she wanted to be there to share in the joy with them.
At the first house we had coffee and doughnuts (cheap little Walgreen baggies of doughnuts since the house employee responsible for making sure we had cinnamon rolls that morning totally botched his mission), and then passed out presents and stockings and watched with pleasure as the residents opened their gifts. Then we went to the other house - now sufficiently caffeinated and sugared up - and watched them enjoy the fruits of my mother's diligence and labor. After everything was opened and being enjoyed, a few of us went into the sun room and sang Christmas carols while a deaf resident played the piano accompaniment for us. It was unique and beautiful and it made that resident's day.
We had our own Christmas after all of that and opened our own stockings and gifts. It was wonderful and yet the excitement paled to some degree in comparison to the pure delight in sharing Christmas with those who often receive nothing.
Some of the gifts Hannah and I received include: the Luis Royo Tarot, the Gothic Tarot, Tarot for Writer's by Corrine Kenner, a slew of books, some beautiful jewelry (namely a dandelion puff necklace that I cannot wait to wear!), soaps and scrubs, blankies and Monster High Dolls. That's a small list of all our goodies. Already I'm delving into some of the books as well as the tarot deck. Lots of inspiration and information to be found in our gifts this year. Hannah and I have been doing some writing exercises from the Tarot for Writer's book to stir up our creativity and passion for the craft once more.