Opinion: Time to create new rituals for the holidays


The sun is shining, the grass is green. The orange and palm trees sway. Wait, what? With our recent weather here, you’d swear we were in California for the holidays. But we really are a mile high at the foot of the mountains, and I want to have a Colorado Christmas that feels like, “Snow, snow, snow … it won’t be long till we’re all there with snow.” It already seems like we’re lighting our menorah too soon, but this weather is downright weird for the holiday season.

Almost 30 years ago, I moved here from Southern California (yes, I was one of those) to escape the constant sun and enjoy the change of seasons in the Rockies. Although I grew up with the pleasant predictability of temps in the 70s and sunshine, I yearned for the change of seasons, especially around the holidays. So, weather gods … where’s our snow, sleet, or even just some flurries?? How can we bustle down the street with our arms full of packages and our boots on under warm and dry skies?

And who would have ever thought that we’d still be here with yet another COVID-19 variant pushing us again to order online and avoid the in-person shopping experience of holiday Muzak and children’s choirs?

So, to help get in the holiday spirit, I’ve created some new rituals this year:

• I got my flu shot! (Just in case. I don’t want to be in bed for the holidays.)

• I greet each sunny day with a warm robe, pajama pants, and a hot cup of tea in front of my TV streaming fireplace. (God knows I don’t need to heat up the room with a real one right now.)

• When the doorbell rings with a delivery of a Christmas present I ordered online, I run to get my boots and gloves on to bring the package inside. (Before any stealthy porch pirate can swoop it.)

• Since I can’t listen to KOSI-101 Christmas music in the car because I hardly drive anywhere, I’ve started playing it on my computer and loving singing with it. (Gotta get my fill of Pentatonix for the holidays.)

• I’m still planning on doing our annual tradition of driving around looking at the neighborhood holiday lights. (Thank God some traditions can still be strong.)

• My roommate and I have started a nightly “Hide and Find Elvie” hunt where we take turns hiding the Christmas elf from each other and then trying to find it the next day. (So far, neither of us has been able to stump each other, but I’m still planning to.)

• In our house this year, we have become aficionados of the British Baking Show holiday episodes and that has really stepped up my baking game! (Can’t wait to decorate those Christmas cookies with our new 7-year old in our family!)

• Probably most important, is my continuing daily focus on gratitude. Every night, as I’m getting settled into bed, I reflect on my day and find at least three things for which I am grateful. (Be careful to do this before your melatonin gummies take effect.)

You’re welcome to join me in any or none of these depending on your corny or sarcasm tastes. But whatever you choose to do, I hope you and your family stay safe, loving, and warm. And may we all enjoy the crazy Colorado weather and crazy COVID times no matter what comes our way.

Former Colorado state senator, now with a master’s in Social Justice and Ethics from Iliff School of Theology, Linda Newell is a writer, instructor, facilitator, and conflict coach. Senlindanewell@gmail.com, www.lindanewell.org, www.senlindanewell.com, @sennewell on Twitter, Senator Linda Newell on Facebook.


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