Sunday, December 13, 2020

Christmas Factory

Last weekend Dom Little'a became Warsztat Mikołaja (Santa's workshop). On the morning of the 6th we woke up with candy in our shoes, courtesy of Świętego Mikałaja. Throughout the weekend we took out the Christmas decorations, hung the lights, and baked lots and lots of cookies: cranberry citrus shortbread, ginger triangles, lemon meltaways, and peanut butter cups. After two full days of baking I hopped on my sled (bike) and travelled across the city to deliver the treats. In the evenings we listened to Christmas carols and watched the 2020 editions of the rom-com Christmas movie staples. 

In some ways last weekend was an example of "fake it 'til you make it." I was not feeling the holiday spirit this year until we started to put some Christmas activity into action. I wasn't being a total Scrooge, but I just didn't think we needed to make a fuss for the holiday. Now I'm starting to feel the itchy desire to wrap presents and tie a red ribbon in my hair (which I might actually do for my company's Zoom holiday party on Monday). When friends inquire about our holiday plans my response has changed from "nothing" to "I'm not sure"–progress!

There have been some outside influences that have helped, too. I walked into Old Town for the first time in a while and it was nice to see the city's decorations strung across the streets and a lit up tree in the town center. The highly decorated nativity scenes are sprinkled around town and twice this week I spotted the Wesołych Świąt (Merry Christmas) tram. Plus, as a super bonus, it snowed twice in the last two weeks. It's only one more week of work until Cameron and I start our winter holiday, but the 6:30am church bell next door is already starting to ring more like a Christmas chime than a morning alarm to my ears. On a bit of tangent, it's been surprisingly pleasant living right next to a big church. The bells go off at 6:30, 12:00, and 18:30 so it's not incessant, and the predictability isn't so unwelcome either. Although I think the 6:30 bells don't chime on Sundays.

But back to the matter at hand–Christmas...although I always start thinking about my New Year's resolutions this time of year as well. I typically pick one or two each year, and normally I'm pretty good about keeping them. I'd say on average I hit about 80% of my full-year goal on average. Last year's resolutions were to have moments of gratitude every day (which I wasn't so good at) and to actively practice Polish every day. Thanks to Duolingo and Drops I actually did pretty well with this one- I bet there were less than 10 days this year that I did not "do my Duos," and even some of those days I had the excuse of participating in a Polish meeting at work. 

This year I've been developing a list of potential 2021 resolutions. Some are food based (no sugar, no processed food, vegan a few days a week), a few are personal habit-building (daily flossing, read 50 books, no pimple picking, practice cursive), others are consumerism related (no clothes shopping, zero waste, no plastic bags). Although I like them all, I am not committed enough to go for 10+ goals this year, nor do I think all are practical for me right now. Even though I would love to live a zero-waste life I don't have the resources to succeed at that. 

Over the years I've learned that the trick to a good New Year's resolution is to have built in loopholes. One of my most successful years was no buying alcohol for myself unless the situation required it. That meant I could order a cocktail if I went to a friend's birthday dinner and if Cameron was paying then I could buy a beer. That year I also held a lot of house parties so I had an excuse to buy some alcohol. Between now and 1 January I will be working out which resolutions I can find ways to weasel out of, and those will probably be the ones that I go for in 2021. Suggestions from the reading audience are welcome! 

We tried to go ice skating with some friends, but we didn't know you have to come by the rink 2 hours early to buy tickets, so instead we went to an Alice in Wonderland Garden Lights exhibit. 

Me with my spiritual sister, the Queen of Hearts plus Cameron and I taking our annual bunny clan holiday photo. The light exhibit was 30zł to get in and it was VERY crowded (an artifact of the limited activities available to families right now) but overall worth it.

The lights are everywhere though. The second photo is at outside of the malls. Leading up to Christmas there are many shopping Sundays and the government has lifted some of the shopping restrictions so that people can do their Christmas shopping. 

It's more than just Christmas lights; in one of the squares in the historic Jewish district there is a large menorah making the nights of Hanukah. 

Some of the intricate nativity scenes that can be found throughout the city. They look really lovely when they are lit up at night. 

My favorite nativity scenes, though, are these ones made by a local artist. 

The treats Świętego Mikałaja left us contributed to our gingerbread house decorations. 

Building the house felt more like performing surgery. We weren't sure if it would actually come together. 

But it did and now I've very pleased with our little Christmas corner. 

It was also fun to go on a snowy hike (to Piłsudski's Mound). I'm glad to have some experience with a snowier winter because I think next year Cameron and I will be living in Utah. Our moving to America plans will surely be the topic of a future blog post. 

And I'll finish this up with a little pride point, which is that I am a Duolingo power user, apparently. 

No comments:

Post a Comment