Monday, December 16, 2013

Distinctly December.

While Autumn still reigns officially until this Saturday, the transition to Winter has most surely come to New England.  This is my first winter in the city: all the winters I was growing up were spent in deep, rural, woodsy New England.  The sort of place where you brought firewood in from the shed before a big storm, where the cardinals flocked in pine boughs and you could follow deer tracks in the snow.  My college winters were spent in a small college town, and the month of December always meant the trip back further North to the rural homestead: I'd split my time between there and Boyfriend's family home, on the rocky, grey, rugged, homey New England Coast.  While some part of me misses that month long reprieve that was winter break during undergrad (despite always working winter breaks, I still had days off, snow days, time to bake and read and christmas shop, and sleep sleep sleeeeeeepp) I am adjusting well enough, I think, to my first December on my own.  Below are some of the things that to me are in some way distinctly winter, distinctly Christmas, or otherwise distinctly December.


{Image from here}
There are dozens of variations on this recipe: I tweak my own basic one depending on my symptoms.  The basic idea, though, is to make a tea out of ginger, cayenne pepper (just a few dashes!  no more than two or three for me and I have a very high tolerance for spice. when making it for roommates, I add maybe a dash!), cinnamon, raw honey, and lemon.  Pro tips: add the raw honey second to last, after the water has come down from a boil and add the lemon by just sticking it in your cup and pouring the no-longer boiling water on it.  That way you don't boil out any enzymes, yay!

Homemade Chicken Soup

{Image from martinturzak/}

Earlier in the fall I bought two free-range, humanely slaughtered rotisserie chickens.  One I turned in to a bunch of soup, the other I ate from for a few days and then turned the carcass in to a kick-ass mass of stock.  I've been busting both out of the freezer generously as the weather has hovered below zero for days at a time.

The Nutcracker

{Image is the property of Boston Ballet}
It isn't the holidays for me without a trip to the Nutcracker, a tradition that was started when I was a little girl - and then a big girl, all the way through high school senior - when I danced in the Nutcracker.  Now if I'm not part of a production, I simply have to go see one.  Being a staff member with BB allows me discount tickets to see one of the best versions out there!  Taking Mum and Sissy to see it was a highlight of my post-grad life so far, and the kick off to my Christmas.
Books!  While it's frustrating to not have a million and one arts-based projects on my plate for three or four weeks, it is undeniably nice to have time to "refresh the creative well," by re-engaging in my other passions and hobbies.  Nurturing my brain, curiosity, and language skills.  Plus, nothing screams "December," to me quite like snuggling up under my softest brown blanket (a gift from Boyfriend) with my fuzzy socks mug of tea, and a just-for-fun book to read beneath the Christmas lights.


{Image from}

Because obviously snow = winter.  First snow on the same night as Nutcracker = proper December.

Honorable Distinctly December Mentions:
*Chocolate chip cookies 
*Pandora Christmas Station
*Fuzzy socks
*This nifty cold I've got that's making me so tired I'm in bed by ten but can't for the desperate life of me actually fall asleep.  Cue more immune-boosting tea.  
*Christmas budgeting, Christmas shopping's more practical cousin.

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