Friday, November 29, 2019

How I Enjoy a Simple Holiday Season


Post, photography, and audio podcast by Rain San Martin 

Rethink Holiday Traditions

The Holidays. Some see it as the most wonderful time of the year, while others may find it the most stressful. However, with intentional planning and culling of customs which no loner bring joy, a season of peace, enchantment and winter wonderment could be a hand. Over the last couple of years I have made many small yet powerful and bold steps toward the simplification of the season.

Thanksgiving

It all starts with Thanksgiving. Plan and shop for your ingredients well before the week leading up to the Day of Thanks. Though I have created the entire meal from scratch in years past, I find I can more fully appreciate this day by purchasing at least half of the meal pre-made or easy to put together. Most other meals throughout the year are made from scratch.

Travel

For simplicity and to ensure safe driving conditions we do not travel during the holidays. All road trip adventures occur during the warmer months.

Black Friday Shopping

As a  principle I no longer participate in black Friday shopping! There was a simpler time when stores opened at their usual time, the day following Thanksgiving. Unhurried shoppers were simply in a festive and jovial spirit.  Yet today Thanksgiving has grown into the new Black Friday. Retail workers are pulled away from the celebration to work in conditions exposing them to stampedes and inordinately stressful working environments. If more of the public makes their voices heard, shopping responsibly on alternate days, a new cultural awaking of mindfulness can arise on the holiday.

Gifts

I have requested to no longer exchange gifts with family and friends. My husband and children still continue in this tradition however with the grandparents. We also give a reasonable sized gift to the children. Because we give a monthly tithe of all our income, the spirit of giving is met throughout the year.  We also donate our time on occasion to meaningful work.

Cards

Rather than sending a batch of Holiday cards, I write 1-2 personal letters, cards or postcards per month! Not only does this save a tremendous amount of time, the customized writings allow for reflection, creativity, and deeper sharing. 

Eat Only Until Full

Have temperance when eating meals. There is never a reason one should overeat. It harms the body, leading to weight and health woes. At Thanksgiving or during a Christmas meal eat with extra care. I myself have a light breakfast, one reasonable serving of the meal, then wait a few hours before having pie and eggnog as my last meal of the day. As you see there are no seconds, and pie is not eaten on a full stomach. Chai Tea and an orange are eaten a bit later.   I do not drink alcohol, yet if you do, take heed to the wisdom of temperance.

"Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags." (Proverbs 23:20-21)


Enjoy the Season

Rather than pop-culture Christmas themes, I focus on creating a Rustic Winter retreat. Gathered pine cones and evergreens lay across the mantle. Classic white lights and a wreath welcome at the entrance. LED taper candles glow ambiently in window sills.  These we will keep up all winter long. A welcoming lift in the darker days ahead.  Because I have dramatically simplified the season I've had time to bake seasonal treats like pumpkin cheesecake and cinnamon rolls from scratch. I can enjoy classical music, make a gingerbread house, or visit a historic home decorated for the occasion. Yet now there is a playful freedom to enjoy the wonderment of winter. After the holidays the season of winter magic continues.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Family Pumpkin Carving Party


Post, Photo's and YouTube Video by Rain San Martin


Come join us during our Family Pumpkin Carving Party! We used quality tools we had on hand, such as a dulled steak knife and other kitchen utensils rather than owning an additional pumpkin carving kit.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links to the products mentioned in the video and post which helps to support this site, at no extra cost to you: 


My husband Sage carved and painted the Bats and Moon Jack-O-Lantern.


Here are the basic steps:

Step 1) Draw out a template. We all free-handed the template on a regular sheet of paper instead of printing or tracing it, yet referenced books used for pumpkin template inspiration:

Gooseberry Patch Halloween by Gooseberry Patch (2010-08-17)

Best of Halloween Tricks & Treats, Second Edition (Better Homes and Gardens Cooking) We used an earlier edition however.



 I carved the Frankenstein Jack-O-Lantern. 
 

Step 2) Cut out a large hole in your pumpkin, big enough to easily fit your hand and candle votive through. A stainless steel 1/3 cup measuring tool worked great at scrapping the pumpkin seeds out.



Our daughter Winter made a Celestial Sun and Stars. 


3) Tack the free-handed template on-to the pumpkin. Use a washable marker to make the pathway more visible. If painting directly on the pumpkin as my husband did on his bats, use acrylic paint and a brush.  He used DecoArt Americana Acrylics in black.



 Our son Orion carved a classic Jack-O-Lantern face.
 

Step 4) Use a small steak knife or similar tool to cut out the the shapes all of the way through.

Step 5) Place a lite candle votive into your Jack-O-Lantern. 




If you watch the video you can see my husband Sage dressed in the 2019 Joker movie costume. You'll also get another peek at my Lily Munster outfit. 

Have a whimsical fall!

Rain 

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