A DIFFERENT DECEMBER
This December marks the first holiday season in 12 years that I have not been at the helm of a product based business. Most small businesses can expect to make a considerable percentage of their annual income during this time. There were some years at Zelma Rose where I would make up to 50% of my annual income in Q4 depending upon how many events I was able to squeeze in plus publicity and of course a bit of luck. I would start planning for Q4 in July with production schedules, wholesale orders, lining up events and making my best informed guess as to what would be a best seller between October and December. It was always a bit of chaos, which admittedly I love.
A friend recently asked what this time of year felt for me now. It was a question I really had to think about. I can say for certain this December feels different, but the reason extends much further than running an entirely different kind of business for the first time in 12 years. When I look back, it has been probably 14 years since I've had this kind of a December. Twelve years ago in December I had a newborn baby. My daughter was just 2 months old and my life was very different than two Decembers before, when we were grieving over a miscarriage. The years between those 2 events were so very hard. I'm not sure how we got through. Those were the 2 years that really changed our life.
When I add up the numbers, reflect on the data, it's been probably since 2007 that I've enjoyed a December like this one. And I wonder how that is possible. I was an entirely different person then. Fully. Wholly. I can feel that in my bones. And it is evident in my day to day as well. I have simply forgotten what this time of year is like. I forgot how to plan for vacation time, time off for school, baking, celebrating. All the things that I love about this time of year. I've felt a bit lost but not in a sad way. In the way we feel lost when we haven't done something before. I'm learning how to do December all over again. And as a very different person.
December this year has been full of skateboarding with friends new and old. Stopping in the middle of the day to just watch tv or listen to a song. A last minute decision to go to Target and buy all the vegan ice cream. Spending an afternoon searching for the perfect wreath, making plans for more houseplants. A return of our annual tradition of visiting the DeYoung on Christmas Eve. It has been quiet. It has been restful. It has been full in a very different way.
There has been no pushing through which was the norm for me for so long. I suppose this is growth, change. And I do not think I was ready before right here, right now to not push. This December has required a very different kind of holding. For myself mostly, but also for my kid and the dude, the dogs. All the things. And it took me a while to get used to the pace. I had become so accustomed to hiding in the speed of things.
I'm taking the next week to sit in this newness. Receive and not create. Take in and not innovate. Just be.
I wish you all a final week of December of your choosing. Be it big or small. Loud or quiet. Slow or speedy.
See you in 2023
There is a long standing Christmas Eve tradition on Grafton Street in Dublin known as The Busk. Street musicians, led by the incomparable Glen Hansard and others gather to sing together in support of Dublin Simon Community, an organization dedicated to housing those with home insecurity across Ireland. Every Christmas Eve I take to YouTube tracking down clips here and there of the event. It is everything I love about Ireland. The music, community, and how art is a living breathing collaboration that belongs to everyone. The music makes my heart swell and for a brief moment my body feels home in a place I continue to miss very, very much. Last year the Simon Community gathered to busk at the famous St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin after a year hiatus due to Covid. The event was private and recorded and is a really beautiful film showcasing a number of incredible Irish musicians, including of course Bono opening the busk with an absolutely gut wrenching rendition of Running to Stand Still. You can watch last year's Busk here.
This year the event was live streamed. It was as beautiful as the year before. I'm not certain the live stream will be available but you can find it here.
A few words. The Busk celebrates traditional Irish music, Gaelic ancestral songs and being on Christmas Eve, Christmas songs are sung.
To donate to Simon Community visit here.
A few favorites from years past are below: