It’s That Time of Year

Branches against the sky.

The day after next, I can officially begin listening to Christmas carols. I like to wait until December, so the season doesn’t lose its shine too quickly. I like the standards and traditional songs, especially Medieval carols, and I also have a soft spot for Vince Guaraldi Trio’s A Charlie Brown Christmas. I’m especially looking forward to pulling out Susan McKeown and Lindsey Horner’s Through the Bitter Frost and Snow and Nativit√© by Vancouver choral group Musica Intima. Sadly, I think I’ve lost my copy of the Chieftains’ Christmas album, but I’ve got enough music to get me through the month.

Lovely ceramics from Blackbird Studios.

My favourite part of this season is getting together with some folks, baking holiday cookies and squares. I also love visiting craft fairs and seeing what the independent stores around Vancouver have to offer. I don’t like the way consumer culture goes into hyper drive at this time of year, though. I most admire those who take the time to find or make meaningful gifts, without getting carried away by quantity or expense. The Kitchn is always a good resource for homemade gift ideas, but there are tonnes of others, too.

So many Make It posters!

For Vancouverites, the holiday craft fair season starts with Make It, a huge four-day craft show. I was lucky enough to score tickets, courtesy of the Bee Vancity crew, and the photos you see were taken there. Got Craft? has put together a quite comprehensive list of upcoming craft fairs and sales that should take care of just about anyone’s shopping list. Local, unusual, and often sustainable – this sort of gift-shopping can be an antidote to the corporate Christmas model.

The folks at the Just Work ( table.

I don’t take it for granted that the yearly love affair with Christmas traditions is universal, though. Something I never fail to do each year is to be mindful of the fact that not everyone celebrates Christmas, or participates in winter celebrations the way that I do. A little mindfulness is one of my traditions, too.

My Friend Monster's stuffed creations.

Now tell me, what does December hold for you?

Jacqueline Robin's beautiful black and white ceramics.