Winter is Here


Fortunately I don’t have to make the same kinds of hard decisions as Ned Stark, but Winter and the holidays don’t have to be grim.

There are quite a few words that can describe the beginning of Winter and the year-end holidays: dread, lonely, cold, snowy, warm, happy. I’ve run through the gamut in my time on Earth, and in general I find this time of year to be pretty nice.

That’s the most honest thing I can say about it. I like Thanksgiving and Christmas because there are good meals that go along with seeing family. (I like my family.) It’s not really about presents, or at least it hasn’t been for fifteen or twenty years. I like stuff, don’t get me wrong, stuff is good. It’s just that I’m in a position now where I can get almost any stuff I want when I want it. I don’t have to wait for the holiday or my birthday or Father’s Day.

I’m fortunate that the business I work in is closed during the holiday season, too. That means I get an extended vacation of a week or sometimes a little more every year beyond any time I take off in spring or summer. Again it’s time to spend with my family and do things like read or go to a movie.

My memories of the holidays as I grew up were always good, too. I don’t have any desire to ever again overdose on hot ham with cherry sauce (an Easter dish if I remember), but I look forward to my family’s non-traditional Christmas dinners. We’ve had lasagna, chili, soups, and all kinds of comfort foods. We do the traditional turkey in November but give the goose and the turkey a break in December.

It just seems right, somehow.
My wife bakes during the holidays. And she’s very, very good at it. Cookies are everywhere in this house.This year she took some of those cookies and made me run out in the cold to ensure the garbage men, the recycling guys, and the mailman all got some. Every one of them was stunned and grateful. The holidays are a great time to show everyone around you how you feel about them. Usually in little and sometimes unexpected ways.

Yeah, they’re paid pretty well for tough work but it’s nice to be appreciated isn’t it? I wondered how many people did something small for the people who come to the house because you ask them to. Not very many, I’m sure. It made me feel good to hand the tins of cookies to those guys then come in to the warm house.

Using words to describe those feelings doesn’t diminish them, but it’s impossible to convey every feeling that rises with such acts. It’s Winter and a time to reflect and rejuvenate. I’m carrying those feelings with me, and you can be sure they’ll find a way into everything I write in the coming year.

Jason Arnett is a storyteller living in Kansas and writing in the plains of the fantastic. Some of his work can be found at

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