By Anna Hoeschen.
[Ed: Sometimes, loving the holidays is about letting yourselves love them. Here’s Anna Hoeschen’s guide to unabashed holiday pleasures.]
Candles in windows, menorahs, twinkling trees. I love winter light. On Christmas Eve, my family piles into one car, and we drive around looking at lights. When my siblings and I were younger, this was the time when Santa visited our house. We’re adults now, but we still go look at lights, because we love the tradition.
As a student in Guatemala, I visited big, open-air markets filled with beautiful textiles. I purchased a Mayan Nativity for my mom. I love the set for its tiny size and colors—but also for what it represents. In spite of tragedies that plague our world, it reminds me that people everywhere desire and celebrate peace.
Old Grand Pianos
Old pianos: the achy, clanky, faded, chipped-at-the-keys kind. My Grandma played piano and, when she was still with us, made us sing carols on Christmas Day. We’d squeeze around her or stand on the bench and pull on her hair to steady ourselves. The more we screamed and bellowed and danced, the louder she would play. My mom has seven sisters and there is definitely a strong “maternal current” that runs through our family. My grandma was the matriarch; she loved us and never tried to quash our spirit or enthusiasm. We were gifts to her, and she made sure we felt that.
Love Actually, White Christmas
British Arrow Awards
The indulgence of reading
Hygge (and Books)
My friend Caitlin introduced me to the Danish term Hygge
. Embracing coziness, togetherness, and warmth is something I can get behind. Especially as the holidays subside and winter takes over, I shun my to-do lists and try to commit to less. I read tons of books and journal more. I’m currently loving this
Sweaters. Hats. Mukluks
. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. So you go outside looking like a marshmallow, and then you go traipsing through the snow.
Mulled wine. Champagne. Porters and Stouts. Homemade cookies galore. Treats as far as the eye can see. I give myself the gift of non-guilt.
Even though I’ve been known to break my leg (!) on a scrappy patch of ice, I still love outdoor rinks. I’ve skated on them before, and I’ll skate on them again. Broken bones be damned! Lights, stars, and air so cold it burns your lungs. It doesn’t get much better than that.