The holidays are upon us and you can feel it in the air in the San Juan Islands. Slowing, surely,
the season’s magical spell has taken hold with the remarkable sense of community. Actively
emerging in early December, a spirited and creative time of year, 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 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 that tradition can actually
carry. This extends uniquely to the holidays.
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 may think traditions are carved in stone, but really they adapt beautifully to new
circumstances if we let them. This year is a perfect example of just that. Introducing new festive
rituals as our lives change is how we continually open ourselves to wonder, ensuring that our
future memories of holidays past bring both contentment and renewal. As we seek to put our
own stamp on tradition and imbue celebrations with our own sense of style in a safe fashion, we
discover the irresistible variety of both.
The holidays in the islands are memorable, to be sure…