December is upon us. It should not surprise us, but always it does. And the New Year is equally sneaky to arrive before our stunned eyes. So, I am trying to slow December down, a difficult task to be sure. We recently equipped our hearth to burn fires safely and efficiently so this is the beginning of my efforts: warm fires, low lights, soft music (Celtic holiday tunes now). For many, this season is full of hustle bustle, a race to the finish, and an inevitable crash after all is said and done. In the past years I have slowed my pace and tried to create my own traditions, ones that allow me enjoy the season, not survive it. I have tried to replace bought gifts with something handmade, or a deed, or time spent with those I love. This doesn't always free up more time, but time is better spent, more enjoyable, memorable, and fulfilling. Along with gifts I am making for my family, I have projects to finish for others who are less crafty yet still want a touch of handmade and one of a kind to their holiday gifts. So the list is long. But a hot kettle, a warm fire, and some festive music will keep me company as the days shorten.