As bloggers go, I am not a "good" one. I don't blog every day. I don't blog every week. My photos are often crappy iPhone snaps, and I can't be bothered learning how to write code so that everything is pretty. Really it comes down to the main reason I post my musings - because it encourages me to try new things.
It's in the spirit of trying new things that I've decided to join Anna at Skin & Blister in her Share Advent countdown. I don't normally "do" Christmas in a big way. Aside from a few traditions when I was growing up, I don't remember it being a huge deal, just a really nice day. In many ways I think that's a good thing. This year though, I am going to attempt to embrace the festive cheer, expand my horizons (beware, there may be non-food posts!) and have a crack at it.
The main reason for embracing the cheer is because I am not so good at winter. We used to like each other, and I used to think it was preferable to summer. But a couple of years ago when I stopped working shifts, and started to realise how little daylight I now see, we fell out spectacularly. I struggle to get up on a morning because it's so dark (sunrise tomorrow is at 8.20am - the time when I leave for work), and rather than enjoying my walk home through the city, I find myself fighting through crowds like an angry commuter instead of a friendly local. Combined with a serious aversion to being cold, and I'm not a happy winter bunny.
I reckon that this the reason that there are so many festivals of light in the winter. We need the light as a reminder of warmth and brightness, and a way of bringing people together. They bring a bit of joy to the otherwise dark world. I grew up in a multicultural city, where my friends celebrated Diwali, Hanukkah, Christmas and (at that time) Eid in the winter months. Each year we gathered for school assemblies where the stories of the festivals were told and celebrations were shared. The thing that always struck me was how many similarities there are in between the differences - a chance for a gathering, a celebratory meal after a period of reflection, a time for families and friends to reunite, and an opportunity to be thankful.
I am so glad that I have something lovely to look forward to every week in December. A friend's wedding, a trip to London, dinner with friends, and a week back home in Yorkshire. It is going to be a very happy Advent.