Will wonders never cease? It’s December 14th and I’m ready for Christmas. The gifts are bought and wrapped. The tree has been up for a couple of weeks already. Heavens, I even did a bit of baking in the lead up to a dinner we hosted. If you can call making a cranberry orange loaf and cranberry Rice Krispie snowballs baking. With all that preparation we decided to invite a few couples for supper and board games this Friday.
The unseasonably warm weather made it easier to make some additional different plans. Hilary and I attended a Ukrainian Christmas Baking workshop in Edmonton. We learned how to make some distinctly Ukrainian treats: pampushky, khrustyky, rohalyky. Best of all, we took samples home. This outing ticks a few boxes. Keep learning?check. Spend some quality time with my kid?check. Get hands-on with some of our Ukrainian traditions and customs?check.
The next outing happens the evening of December 20th at an Edmonton Church. Axios Male Ensemble, under the direction of Boris Derow, will be singing “sacred choral music to prepare for the nativity of Christ.” For this event I’ve invited my mother and aunt to attend. If the logistics work out Hilary and Grady will be there too. I can only imagine how magnificent this performance will be with the unique acoustics of a domed church. These men gave a spine tingling performance in a community hall at the Babas and Borshch Festival Zabava (party) this summer. The musically challenged (like myself) can only soak it up in awe and admiration.
Our Christmas Eve will be spent at Greg and Carrie’s for the convenience of the boys. But this year we’re turning our backs on the convenient annual treat of Kentucky Fried Chicken. The potluck plan will give us a better meal. And, not incidentally, provides another chance for all to mindfully and deliberately prepare for and participate in the day.
Maybe that is the lesson here. Resisting the impulse to surrender to the forces that numb us. Not getting caught up in the prescribed routine, either the way we’ve always done it or what others dictate. Being resilient and creative enough to adapt. Guilt-free. Doing what makes sense in our lives at this moment. Taking a cooking class, attending a concert or church service. Being generous to the food bank and charities of your choice. Fighting the inertia that defaults to watching TV or playing video games when we should be surrounding ourselves with friends and family. Cherishing the now in all its messy inconvenient glorious maddening reality.
To faithful Voice readers I wish you the best Christmas you can imagine and an incredible 2016. I wish for you mindfulness, joy, and blessings galore. And the strength to deal with the not so joyous days part of any real life, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.