Holiday Traditions and the Winter List

Whoa, hey, Christmas came and went in the blink of an eye this year, and I barely had enough time to force the donkeys to dress up in their Holiday finest and smile for the camera…


These guys will do anything for carrots. (Which, by the way, is exactly what Santa my mom got them for Christmas this year.)


Cranberries are for the Nugs, of course. (Mixed with greek yogurt for a Christmas breakfast treat.)


Oh, and if you’re worried the poor cat might be neglected, he got his very own heated blanket this year. My mom was worried he wouldn’t like it.


Ha. I’m more worried that he has literally melted into a puddle of cat and will never get up again.

My mom spoils the animals because she doesn’t have grandchildren, and, honestly, all involved parties are exceedingly happy with this arrangement. There are a lot of ways that traditional committed relationships, um… the nicest way I can put this is “require more energy from me than they give back” (which has nothing to do with the fabulousness of all of my mostly-bearded Exes, obviously, they’re all great dudes) so I mostly prefer not doing that these days. But if you’d asked me four years ago the one thing I’d miss most about the kind of relationships that results in spending multiple holiday seasons together? “Christmas traditions” would be the very first thing on the list. At some points in my life that was about picking out and decorating a tree together, at others it was about hot chocolate and waffles on Christmas morning, but really I just liked having someone there to absorb and reflect back some of my excitement about the season.

As it turns out (and isn’t this a key theme in my life?) I am way better at doing these things by myself. What I mean is, when I moved onto the farm I started making my own traditions– some with my family, some just with myself– and I have way more fun with these than I ever have on Christmas before.

There’s the annual “wrestling of the Christmas tree” where I attempt to get an evergreen that is 9ft tall and three times my volume upright in a stand and then upright in my house… it’s my own personal victory every year. And, of course, I watch the ultimate Christmas movies while decorating– by which I mean, Die Hard, obviously.

My mom comes up to the farm Christmas Eve, and Christmas morning we have mimosas…


And Christmas quiche…


(Uh, yes, I did marthastewart a tree out of tomatoes and spinach leaves onto that tree, because if you give me a couple of mimosas before breakfast I start to get real crafty.)

The animals get treats. Mom gets treats. And I also get treats, like polka-dotted work-socks and throwing knives…


(For the record, those are Smartwool socks, in various thicknesses, which are the best and only socks I’ll wear with my workboots. You do not mess around with work-gear on a farm, even if said work-gear comes in a rainbow polka-dotted pattern.)

But, by far, the best tradition I started 3 years ago was this…


Sometime in early December I go to the bookstore (the actual bookstore, not online) and I wander around until I find a few books I hadn’t heard of that spark my interest, and then I wrap them up and put them under the tree, and I can’t open them until Christmas.

Seriously. I’m more excited as an adult to unwrap new books (which has the added benefit of being a surprise, since I usually forget what I picked by the time Christmas comes around) than I ever was as a kid opening toys.


I read three of these in two days, but since I’m back to work this week the fourth will have to wait until the weekend.

Here’s the list so you don’t have to squint at the titles on that pic:

  • Station Eleven, Emily Mandel – Loved it
  • The Weird Sisters, Eleanor Brown – Loved it, but
  • Assholes: A Theory, Aaron James – Liked it, but it could have been a lot funnier
  • The Shards of Heaven, Michel Livingston

Also notable books I bought myself recently but weren’t a part of this particular tradition:

  • Humans of New York Stories, Brandon Stanton
  • A Man Called Ove: A Novel, Fredrik Backman
  • Men Explain Things to Me, Rebecca Solnit

Yeah. My compulsion to buy books is second only to my compulsion to buy tools. And I love it. Definitely going to need to add building more bookshelves to the 2016 list though. Along with building a target for those throwing knives.

It’s fair to note, however, that some “traditions” don’t make it past the second year… that one where I drank a bottle of wine and sang Christmas carols about my tools? Yeah. Love that in theory, but it’s only fun when it’s fun and not when you’re trying to fit it into your schedule like a chore– which is what happened the last two years– plus just making up the lyrics to “I’m Dreaming of a White Kitchen” started stressing me out about starting that project. So. I’m calling it on that one.

Still, I can’t complain that I managed to check everything off my winter list, just in the last week…


Mostly thanks to those traditions.

All in all I love Christmas on the farm, and I couldn’t have asked for a better December. A good end to a great year.

11 Responses

  1. That’s probably the best explanation of how I feel about relationships these days. They do take a lot of energy, and don’t really give back much.

    I’ve always appreciated practical things like socks for Christmas.

  2. Aww. I missed the drunk Kit singing about her tools this year. Maybe I’ll go back and watch your first one from a few years ago.

    1. Smartwool socks are made of a blend of Merino wool and lycra. They are completely awesome for keeping your feet dry, reduce friction between your boots and your heels (read: no blisters), and are super comfy. I would also recommend Fox River socks. Both companies also make knee high athletic compression socks that are the bomb when you’re on your feet all day.

  3. Yep, you do have some totally awesome Christmas Card worthy (Real Farm Life) photos to pic from, pun intended
    Winter is the season to reflect, appreciate, enjoy, plan, and take more time for the things you’ve been crossing off your list… check out new wines, plow snow, and inside projects 😉
    You rocked the Christmas Quiche totally! I n a buddy when kids 9 – 17-ish abused many a tree in our back yards practicing & refining our knife throwing skills and rather surprised we weren’t contacted by the French Foreign Legion to come join up. I see your knives are complete with the survival blk cord as well. Should you have trouble w/coyote or fox in the hen house, once your knife throwing skills are honed you could dress in blk hoody, blk sweatpants, blk baklava train a couple blk chickens to help spot the rascal fox or coyote dispense of the problem. Black Feather Ninja is born 😉
    I don’t let my mind wander often n spin yarns/write…
    But when I do, there usually pretty good ones Kit.
    Drink responsibly n have a Rock Star New Year!
    Do what you love n love what you do

  4. I am so glad you had a lovely Christmas. I am also glad that you realized that your Christmas tool singing is fun when it’s fun. You have to be inspired to do stuff like that. Sometime after a bottle of wine inspiration may strike again. Until then you have books to read, animals to cuddle, a farm to keep. Thank you for a great year on the blog.

  5. A Man Called Ove! Someone next to me on a plane in October was reading that. No idea how I remember that (and is that creepy?) but it looked interesting. Haha.

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