December 6: Read aloud
In my family, all of our December and Christmas accessories were housed in an old wooden chest. Shipped over from Sweden when my parents moved, for the rest of the year it served as a coffee table, the seasonal goods hidden inside. It was a ritual at the beginning of the month to spend an evening opening it up, taking out the ornaments for the tree, the special linens for the table, and the winter-themed books.
These books were placed in a stack, and as the month went on, we would make our way through them, reading them aloud in the evenings.
Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost was a favorite. The classic poem was in illustrated format, and I remember turning each page to discover a new line and a new drawing.
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Reading out loud is often something that we give up after childhood. We know that reading aloud is essential for children, but why stop there? I think reading out loud is good for any age, whether you're a child or an adult.
Perhaps you don't have anyone to read aloud to. That's ok - take a literary moment for yourself anyway. It can be a poem or a short story, or maybe it's even a longer book, from which you read passages every night.
Find something that captures the feeling of the season, perhaps something that you can return to every year, creating a new tradition.
For inspiration, check out the collection of winter poems over at the Poetry Foundation.
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