Holiday Fireflies

Seeking Holiday Fireflies

It’s Christmas Eve, and although I myself do not identify as Christian, my family has always celebrated Christmas (and Hannukah – both sides represent!) and so I wanted to extend my warmest wishes for a holiday season to all. Whatever holiday you celebrate (or don’t), often this time can be one of joy, warmth, inspiration and giving. We can also be distracted and focused on errands, finishing work, the stress of buying gifts. For me, this has been an anomaly of a holiday season. Jon and I returned to the States in early November, and have been in a transitory state of being ever since. So I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the ‘fireflies’ or the things that give me inspiration, hope and happiness during the holidays, even if they are hard for me to see at this time of job and home seeking, this in-between time of a life on the road and a life in one place. I remind myself, that even though I’m not with my own family this Christmas, I’m surrounded by people I love and who love me, and above all, that is the most important and inspiring place to be during the holidays. So here’s a short list of things this season that have peaked my heart and mind. And from my family to yours, best wishes for a happy holiday season and a joyous New Year.

Mali Menorah

My mini Menorah in Mali 2009

Lights. My favorite are the lights of the Menorah, which were lit during Thanksgiving this year, adding a special flare of gratefulness and contentment that we were with people we love. Last year we caught the end of the holiday season in Bruges, Belgium – it was incredible. Christmas markets, ancient buildings lit, stringed lights over cobblestoned streets – beautiful.

Jon's crafty 'wrapping' job. What's inside?!

Jon’s crafty ‘wrapping’ job. What’s inside?!

Craftyness. I love that the holidays are a perfect time to create something either as a gift, decoration or just for the fun of it. I love seeing creations of all sorts. My favorite this year is Jon’s wrapping of my present – yes it’s an aluminum foil Mt. St. Helens. I wonder what’s inside!!! Hopefully not a pyroclastic cloud – unless it’s a pyroclastic cloud of love. I don’t know that that means….

Portland's Ugly Sweater 'Yarn Bomb' by Travel Portland. Photo c/o Sue Frause

Portland’s Ugly Sweater ‘Yarn Bomb’ by Travel Portland. Photo c/o Sue Frause

Sillyness. Portland is a great place for this. Exhibit A – Ugly Sweaters on sculptures. What else is there to say?

Warm beverages. Mulled wine, hot cider and yummy teas. Pair that with a blanket, couch and your honey and you’ve got a recipe for comfy, snuggly success.

Giving. If you can make gift giving about seeing the joy on someone’s face when you know you really hit the nail on the head, it’s all worth it. Of course I also love giving to my favorite nonprofit organizations. It’s a slim year this year given our travel and subsequent lack of income, but normally, this is one of my favorite and fulfilling things to do. It reminds me that the world is so much bigger than whatever is going on in my life, yet at the same time I’m a part of that world.

What are your fireflies during the holidays? Warmest wishes to you all!

About the Author : Jess SternJessica has an insatiable appetite for travel. She loves experiencing culture in every way. She loves art, music, food and sharing stories.View all posts by Jess Stern

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