icing sugar

For the last, oh, 6 years, I’ve been starting December with wish lists; intentions, dreams, & desires for the year to come. But this year I don’t want to count my wishes, I want to count my blessings, to draw all I love close to me and hold it tight and clutching maybe a little too much. All shining light & heart bursting madly.


Maybe it’s because my birthday is smack in the middle between Thanksgiving and Hexmas – on St. Lucia’s day.  Maybe it’s the dark evenings with glowing shop and cafe windows, fairy lights, glitter and tinsel, whatever it is, I love this time of year so much. Crackling magic in the air. I want snow, glittering and blanketing endless rolling moonlit fields, frost etchings on windows, cocoa after a midnight skate.  I’m not going home to Vermont this year because I have surgery Dec 21, so I’ll have to watch a lot of movies from my couch-nook and light the fireplace and pretend! Please do send book or movie suggestions, especially dreamy winter ones.

335055153_22611e396e_oI found this on flickr but I forget where. Clearly I need to be living there. Also 1902872 fireplaces and cashmere blankets.

I love these holiday iPhone wallpapers from From Me To You – when I was a little girl I spent my holidays in New York with my Nana and Poppop, and ice skating in Rockefeller Plaza was my favorite part. I’ve been craving NY, actually. When I was little I always thought I’d grow up and move there, and never have, yet. It needs to happen at some point!

I also love, and retweet too much, Yoko Ono’s twitter. It’s like a nice little dose of checking in with the cosmic hum when I’m grouching about at work, suddenly just a tiny statement can wake me up again. Something about it coming from her (or her tiny assistants, who knows?? don’t ruin my moment!) makes it really hit home for me.

The beautiful and talented Eden wrote this the other day, and it’s been reverberating in my head ever since. We decided to have a big bonfire this winter, on the longest day. To scare off the darkness, to play instruments as loud as we can, sing and shout and get the poison out of our systems – to remember loved ones…I think that all one can do to face the darkness is create, even the tiniest thing. So this is what I think about as I plan my solstice housewarming gathering, intentions as old as winter herself.

What else? December means glittering parcels start arriving in the mail! Angeliska (& Colin!) sent me this one today! Thank you thank you thank you! It was so beautifully wrapped, very very inspiring as I start wrapping things to send out. Paper mail is the best! I have sweet holiday cards that I really mean to send this year. I always buy them, and then think I have no time, or whatnot, and it gets forgotten – but proper letters are so so so good.





Hooray! So, what are your favorite winter-time cozies? Books? Spiced wine recipes? Swags of pine? Candles? Traditions?

Speaking of St. Lucia and traditions, the symbolism of young white-clad maidens bearing light-bringing fire and warm pastry in winter is all well and cozy, but before the light-bringing Lucia was invented, Germanic people and their neighbors observed Lussinatta. December 13 by the unreformed Julian calendar was the longest night of the year, and Lussi die dunkle was a dark, female spirit who came on the 13th of December. In fact, the Lussiferda was a group of spirit ladies (Lisle-Ståli, Store-Ståli, Ståli Knapen, Tromli Harebakka, Sisill, Surill, Hektetryni and Botill) who came to find children who had done mischief, coming down through the chimney to take them away. And, certain tasks of work in the preparation for Yule work had to be finished, or else the Lussiferda would come to punish the household. This story was definitely not part of the charming Tasha Tudor St. Lucia books I got as a wee!

I hope I get dispensation for it being my birthday, because I have an awful lot of Yule work to be done! This will be the first year in ages I have a tree, and a house that’s perfect for decorating. Merry happy!


  1. I think this is the perfect time of year for close clutches and heart bursting love :)

    And, oh how interesting! I had never heard of the Lussiferda or Lussi die dunkle…this is definitely something that requires further research.

    I would love to hear what other folks suggest as far as dreamy winter books and movies because I am sort of at a loss as far as that! (I just checked my netflix list to see what I was watching this time last year – The Stendahl Syndrome & Zombie Strippers – neither of which is particularly “feel good”, ha!)

    One tradition I do have, however – I usually put my tree up right around winter solstice and I don’t take it down until the first of spring! Something about those twinkling lights are particularly cheering on a dark winter evening, especially after the excitement of the holidays has passed.

    1. We will definitely leave ours up as long as possible, unless the devil cat takes it down for us. Growing up we always put it up after my birthday, so I didn’t get TOO lost in the holiday rush…

  2. i’m glad that stuck with you! i think this is going to be a special winter, at least – i feel more optimistic than i have in years.
    as for books………
    cora sandel – alberta and jacob
    louise gluck – the wild iris
    italo calvino – invisible cities
    silvina ocampo – leopoldina’s dream
    the pillow book of sei shonagon

    i’m reading winter’s tale right now. you recommended it to me a million years ago and i finally remembered. it’s wonderful. i’m sort of in love with pearly soames.

  3. getting cosy, staying cosy. piping hot hot chocolate, sloe gin, always a candle lit at supper, extra blankets, mulled apple juice, making stollen, making paper snowflakes, making chocolate truffles (this year, i’m going to be making chocolate dipped walnuts), collecting wood, sewing, dreaming, giving and receiving.

    as for books – i love to reread Jonathon Strange and Mr Norrell or The Ladies of Grace Adieu both by Susanna Clark. Other wintery tales i love are The Book of Lost Things (a grown up fairy tale) or anything by Michel Faber. but especially the crimson petal and the white. i love that book.

  4. I think you would like Winter Rose by Patricia McKillip. It is one of my favorites to cozy up with, very fae. I like most of her books.
    Blessings to you!

  5. Ooh, yes! I’m reading a Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin right now (probably at Nica’s recommendation! and we both loves Veronica by Nicholas Christopher – I know you will too! Magical book. I’m going to write down all these others too, and then go spend all my money on more books! They provide insulation when stacked up, you see – from bitter winter winds!
    I also like to watch many different versions of the Snow Queen, and we are making spiced apple cider in the crockpot EVERY DAY (because we dumpstered a million bottles of organic apple juice!) I’ve started collecting lots and lots of wee amanitas, little mushroom ornaments and doo-dads, both for my Hexmas motifs and for me Mardi Gras costume! LOVE! xoxo, A.
    Happy the parcel made it safely! I love seeing all the bits of it over there, through your lense..

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