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5 Quick Things #262 🕯🕯
the necessity of wonder, cultural literacy, homemade decor, & a square of fudge
This week the trees around here finally shifted from a dulled green to vibrant orange and red, which I know must be amusing to you if you live anywhere north of me, since the leaves have probably been on the ground for you for at least a month now. But for whatever science-y reason, they’ve taken forever around these parts this year, and the leaves have still mostly held on to their branches (except for the few crunch-worthy outliers on my daily walks).
Our Christmas tree is up and I plan to finish putting on its lights today. We’ve been doing our Advent candle and reading here and there when our schedules allow it and when there’s more or less a quorum (alas, life with teenagers). I’ve been playing my new Advent in the Background playlist in the, well, background as I fold laundry and write a chapter. And I’ve been lighting the cinnamon-y, cider-y, smokey fireplace-y candles I save just for this season.
I think Advent really is my favorite time of year. I love the expectation of Christmas on the way, the change of nature out the window, the chill that requires a jacket (truly, it’s a thing to enjoy down here), and the shared understanding among us that there are certain liberties that are simply called for right now: more candles, more coffee, more music. I love it.
5 Quick Things ☕️
1. I shared with subscribers this week what I think is the best way to burn out on Christmas: “Bingeing on Christmas now is scarfing down Buddy’s spaghetti covered with syrup and candy. Leaning into Advent is sipping a mulled cider and nibbling on a square of fudge.” I’ve made the essay available to the public now, so read at your leisure.
2. I usually side-eye magazine articles that promise decor ideas on a budget because they tend to have different ideas than me on both decor and budget. But this one with 46 Christmas decorating ideas is actually pretty good, if not a tad bit repetitive. If you want to add festivity but want to stay frugal or handmade (or both), just 1-2 of these ideas would fit the bill.
3. Does our technology-everywhere world limit our human capacity and drive for wonder? I think so. No longer do we need to sit with our thoughts while we wait in line, and we don’t need to let a curiosity go unanswered — a quick web search and we know who won the 1964 Olympics in Innsbruck for luge. “Wonder is what happens when we unexpectedly apprehend the marvellous quality of the ordinary.“ I really love these thoughts — I've been slowly mulling on them, which I think is the right thing to do regarding the topic of wonder.
4. The benefits of and need for cultural literacy: “Cultural literacy isn’t knowledge of current events or information that’s only salient to one particular generation; rather, it’s knowledge that has stood the test of time and has stayed in a culture’s consciousness for years, decades, and even centuries.” I agree with every bit of this.
5. And finally, apparently Andrea Bocelli has pretty talented children as well.
Boba, Nerdy Maps, Book Stamps, & Pilgrimages 🎁
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Currently Reading, Watching, Listening 📻
In the Bleak Midwinter, by John Van Deusen
“In the seasons of our Advent—waking, working, eating, sleeping, being—each breath is a breathing of Christ into the world.”
— Caryll Houselander #
Is Die Hard a Christmas movie? 🎞
This might be the most controversial question yet asked in these weekly polls. I'm happy to report that 66.1% of you are correct on this important issue.
Find this week’s poll here.
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Join Me + My Family on a Pilgrimage 🎒
A pilgrimage is going to a particular place for a particular inward-focused reason, and there's almost nothing I like doing more on this side of heaven. Kyle and I are leading a week-long, family-friendly summer trip to Ireland in 2023, and we'd love to have you join us!
Families or singles, younger or older, sure in their faith or questioning everything — all are welcome! We've made it as affordable as possible while still experiencing the richness of Irish culture: music, food, high tea, whisky, farming, art, ruin-exploring, and more. It's a trip not to be missed, and it's a great way to make new friends, spend rich time with a loved one, and contemplate the things that really matter over good drinks at a village pub.
Question(s) For You to Ponder… 🤔
What’s one small way you can love your neighborhood this weekend?
Have a good weekend,