The holidays are upon us and you can feel it in the air in the San Juan Islands. Slowly, surely, the season’s magical spell takes hold with the enchanting small town celebrations and remarkable sense of community. Actively emerging in early December, a spirited and creative time of year, with an abundance of family and friends, it is a precious time when memory and other strands of our lives can come together in powerful and fun ways.
The holidays are a time of sentimental triggers. Holiday memories – we carry them with us all our lives. While other memories may blur and fade, one can almost always recall where one was for holidays past. This seems especially true in the islands. The holidays in the islands are truly remarkable – indescribable really – for young and old alike.
December’s gifts – custom, ceremony, celebration, consecration – come to us wrapped up, not in tissue and ribbon, but in cherished memories. No matter where you live or how old you may be, holidays from your childhood have a special glow about them.
In this society of ours, which often seems broadly skeptical about the value of tradition, it is a wonderful thing for families warmly embracing the positive benefits tradition can actually carry. This extends uniquely to holiday celebrations.
Be it the tree lighting ceremonies, the lighted boat parades, the numerous art festivals and crafts fairs, or the wonderful concerts, there is a calming stability in island holiday celebrations and rituals; both the preparation and celebrations create memories that last a lifetime. Traditions can be sacred or silly, but they become a strong source of bonding, love, and security. The magic, mystery, decorations, presents, singing, laughter, and special food of the island holiday season are all part of the traditions lovingly handed down from generation to generation. Even for those who shun tradition and ritual the rest of the year, the holidays are a time we often return to the security of their fold. Holiday traditions resonate with the imprimatur of time; they become our identity, writing our history, and reflecting cultural heritage.
We think traditions are carved in stone, but really they adapt beautifully to new circumstances if we let them. Introducing new festive rituals each year as our lives change is how we continually open ourselves to wonder, ensuring that our future memories of holidays past bring contentment and renewal. As we seek to put our own stamp on tradition and imbue celebrations with our own sense of style, we discover the irresistible variety of both.
The holidays in the islands are memorable, to be sure…