Bonjour! My wife and I spent Thanksgiving abroad in London and Paris, and wow, it was a great choice. I’m not a big Thanksgiving fan (I know, I know) and getting to spend the holiday drinking coffee in little cafes, watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle, and exploring corners of London, was a real treat. I hope you’re making it through this holiday season, and also the world right now. It’s heartbreaking. I hope you’ve found ways to care for yourself, but also found ways to speak out and take action in ways that feel meaningful to you.
It sounds cliche to start a post this way, but how in the world is it now December?! This year flew by. It’s been a real mixed bag of a year. But aren’t all years a mixed bag, when it comes down to it? One of the things my therapist and I talk about frequently is duality — the idea of holding two paradoxical truths at once. For example, sometimes, people can do their best (including us) and sometimes, that isn’t enough. I find the holidays to be a perfect example of this duality. There are so many fun things to do and places to be, but it can be exhausting and expensive. We see the people we love, and yet time together can also cause us pain. We can have high expectations for ourselves and how the holidays should feel, and yet our efforts or experience can feel like it’s not enough. I hope you’re kind to yourself and those around you as we make it through the chaos, together.
My wish for you is that however your holidays unfold, you’re able to find beauty and joy, even if it’s fleeting or hard to access.
Thank you for letting me join you on these Sundays — it’s been a sweet spot this year. I hope to see you in 2024!
• What are you making for Christmas morning? My wife and I typically enjoy a quiet morning by the tree, and I’m going to mix it up this year and do these Lemon Poppyseed Morning Rolls and a potato leek quiche. Add some bacon (maybe?) and coffee with whipped cream and it sounds like a pretty perfect morning. (Joy The Baker)
• ‘Tis the season for making plans and family time! I loved these tips for navigating your family text chain. Also, a reminder I need for times when I’m with people I don’t know well (like holiday parties) and aiming to be social and pleasant: it’s okay to be awkward! (TIME magazine, The Good Trade)
• Your friends don’t all have to be the same age! Personally, I spend a lot of time with people younger than me (I teach middle school by day, have stayed in contact with many former students, and have many colleagues who are younger than me), and I appreciate the perspective they bring to my life. Since I turned 40, I’ve found that I really appreciate the perspective, advice, and lifestyle of so many women older than me. I don’t have aunts or older sisters, so I’m very into having wise older friends. (The Atlantic)
• I am a lifelong Californian, and while I realize many folks don’t think we have “real winters” I’m in Northern California, and average winter temperatures are in the 40ss and 50s during the day, and we’ve already had lots of frost (and a random snow warning?!). The worst part is that it gets dark by 5 PM, which is hard for people like me who suffer from seasonal affective disorder. I swear by my happy lamp, but I also liked these tips about how to get ahead of winter and the dread that can accompany it. If you’re in a literal or metaphorical winter, I find myself returning to this book again and again, and highly recommend a read if you need some bolstering. (Self, Bookshop)
• I make this orange gingerbread cake every year and it’s become a signature dish to the degree that a friend specifically asked me to bring “that amazing orange gingerbread you always make” to an upcoming gathering. Obviously, I’m happy to do it — it’s delicious, seasonal, and the pomegranate seeds make it look bejeweled. (Joy The Baker)
• As an elder millennial, I feel this hard: First Gen Social Media Users Have Nowhere To Go (Wired)
• I have a lot of goals for 2024, but the one I’m currently most focused on is curbing spending on dumb things. I’ve become a relentless impulse buyer in recent years, and I am over it. I deleted my payment methods from Amazon (and aim to stop shopping there completely by the end of 2024), have cleared my credit card information from all my browsers, and am also going to try this impulse spending journal idea, because it combines the thing I’m working to improve AND my love of gold stars. (The Financial Diet)
• I am a books person, and I both love and loathe this time of year, in which every outlet posts their best books of the year lists because my TBR list is already quite long. In accordance with my goal above, I’m making good use of my library and my beloved Kindle (for which I desperately want one of these cute Kindle holders). I’ve been getting good books to add to my list from The New Yorker (though the hold times are months and months for some of them!) and my new favorite thing, Ann Patchett Tok (aka the Parnassus Books Tik Tok account) where she recommends backlist books that you don’t have to wait forever for at the library! (Etsy, The New Yorker, TikTok)
• I’m hoping to host friends and family more frequently in 2024, and I found this post about tablescapes to be interesting and helpful. I also follow Chelsea Fagan’s TikTok for chic, stellar hosting and dinner party ideas. (Eater, TikTok)