Yule and the Ghost of Christmas Past.

Today is Yule - or the winter solstice.  I love the dichotomy of winter solstice.  It is the first day of winter, but the daylight will start to grow longer each day until the summer solstice in June.  So those of you, who are not fans of winter, take heart and count the waxing minutes of daylight.

Here in south central Pennsylvania it has been a very odd late fall this year.  No snow yet.  Last year we had many snowfalls and icy days, which is what late fall and winter should be.  I love the winter and cold temps and have no desire to fly south like the snowbirds.  Sitting by a cozy fire, snuggling under a down comforter, and star gazing in the crisp cold night sky are just a few of the pleasures of this time of year.

I must admit that the “holiday season” is not my favorite.  The stress and commercialization of Christmas is something I try to avoid.  We do put up a small tree [the “Charlie Brown” variety] and each year I bring out the 100+ year-old German ornaments that were handed down from my paternal grandparents.  They are of the thinnest glass imaginable and I usually break one or more, but this year I took extra care and none was broken.  They are an interesting variety of subjects including Indian chiefs, clowns, aviators, deep-sea divers, frogs, birds, Santas and others.  They evoke the Christmases of my past and stir fond memories.  I even wax nostalgic about the Christmas when I was about nine or ten and had the mumps.  I got a new bicycle that year and I remember riding it cautiously around inside the house.

An interesting celestial happening on Christmas this year is the full Cold Moon.  A full moon on Christmas hasn’t occurred since 1977.

I wish you and yours a very happy holiday season.  Yes, I say “holiday season”, because there are quite a few holidays occurring at this time of year - something for everyone.  However you celebrate, I wish you health, happiness and many good times with family and friends.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in finding the simple pleasures of this time of year.

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Do you hang a pickle on your tree?  Do you know what it means?

Do you hang a pickle on your tree?  Do you know what it means?

I like to put a nest in our tree.  This one isn't real, but we have discovered real nests in our Christmas trees in past years.

I like to put a nest in our tree.  This one isn't real, but we have discovered real nests in our Christmas trees in past years.

"Less is more" is the theme this year.  I have an entire village of houses that I've made, but it's only one on display now.

"Less is more" is the theme this year.  I have an entire village of houses that I've made, but it's only one on display now.