There’s a cold wind whistling around the old farmhouse today, crows are feeding in the field to the east, and birds are flocking around the feeder. Mornings here on the farm start early with the alarm going off at 5:30am; however, stepping outside there’s no feeling of drowsiness. With heads bowed down against the icy blast of December air, we feel very much alive. Errands are done quickly: chickens have a breakfast of warm mash, goats get extra hay and apple slices, barn cats and our faithful guard dog get goodies as well. Christmas cheer for all!
The holiday season is here, and this year, I’ve felt more determined than ever to enjoy the simple pleasures of getting ready for the days to come. The year has been like no other. Each day we eagerly anticipate the coming holidays, while at the same time, closely watching the news. As a mom, I’m filled with complicated emotions, but I also realize there is much to be grateful for and a need to count our blessings.
Slowing Life and Cultivating Coziness on the Winter Farm
Most of us find that December can be a month of intense activity; however, even with all that busyness, we seem to have a need slow down and enjoy the days. Each of us have our own special way of doing that. For me, it means decorating simply, in old-fashioned ways with swags of evergreens and berries, enjoying homemade marshmallows floating in mugs of chocolaty cocoa, sitting by a crackling fire, filling the kitchen with home-baked cookies, and hiding secret surprises.
And just when we needed a little something extra to get us into the holiday spirit, this week we woke up to a beautiful snowfall. The kind of snow that falls gently all day long, blanketing everything in sight (and gave the kids their first snow day from school). Soon, windows were frosted over and pine needles were tipped with an icy glaze, making them look like prisms on a sparkling chandelier — it was the perfect magic for the December.
Ways to Create Holiday Cheer on the Farm During Stressful Times
As our family began to look forward to the holidays in this “not-normal” year, I started jotting down ideas, small and simple things, to help keep the spirit in our hearts. What could we do, not only for ourselves, but for others (socially distancing, of course!).
Be an elf. Surprise friends & neighbors with home-baked goodies left on their doorstep, tie a wreath to our car, sing songs (who cares if we’re off key?), hang mistletoe, laugh, dance, take photos, call those we love and catch up.
Cozy up to read a favorite story. Something sentimental or silly.
Snuggle under a blanket and watch classic holiday movies with popcorn. A way to make sweet memories that will last a lifetime. Or dust off the projector and show a holiday movie on the side of our barn (if you live in town, use your garage door. All the neighbors will love it!).
Take a drive around your hometown. Enjoy the twinkling lights on the farms, in the big city, or on the town square.
Sip eggnog. Put your feet up by the fire. Relax.
Play Christmas music. Our family loves the old classics, but then mix them up with new favorites, too.
Build a snowman. Or make snow ice cream, play board games or charades.
Shovel snow for a neighbor.
Make a midnight wish. Take time to reflect on our blessings and slow down to enjoy the spirit of the season.
Homemade Candy Cane (Peppermint) Sugar Scrub Recipe
Sharing a gift doesn’t need to be complicated. One of my favorite quick and easy gifts to give is sugar scrub.
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 cup sunflower oil
- 10 drops peppermint essential oil
Stir all ingredients together; spoon into jars. Secure the lid, and then tie on a ribbon and gift card. You could even tie on a vintage spoon or small scoop.
As it’s been said, we’re never too young or too old to store up memories. Let’s enjoy every minute this year, and keep the spirit of the season in our hearts.
Mary Murray is a goat wrangler, chicken whisperer, bee maven, and farmers market baker at Windy Meadows Farm. She rehabilitated her 1864 Ohio farm property and is ready to share the many stories that come with farm living. Read all of Mary’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts.