This month’s mood is Timeless. I have always been drawn to art, fashion, music, literature, poetry, and architecture that were created with an appreciation of beauty, quality, taste, and style that stands the test of time… timeless. These timeless creations are just as good now as they were when they were created. They are still true, they are still enjoyable, they are still relevant. And yet in December, in this harried and busy holiday season, we tend to overlook the creative endeavors of past and present creators who have made and still make things with this true, authentic, and timeless beauty in mind. Take time to go to a museum, to listen to music, to see a play, to look at architecture, and to read a book. Get to know the creative individuals whose heart and soul made these things and experiences. This season, in this month of giving, take pause to consider giving things that which will stand the test of time. These are the best gifts, and these are the gifts that are better for the world.
We sometimes lose sight of the timeless values that make the holidays: generosity, gratitude, joy, love, and more. “Timeless” speaks to maintaining these principles at all times and employing them to positive ends. In addition, this means acknowledging the timeless problems of the world, too. We may be fortunate to have an abundance of presents and food in front of us on Christmas or Hanukkah, but many do not. The Food Aid Foundation estimates 795 million people worldwide who are hungry. Donating leftovers and surplus food to shelters and volunteering at soup kitchens are just some of the small gifts of service you can give this season, and the decreased waste makes your holiday celebration more sustainable, too. Charity and activism are perhaps some of the most timeless acts of all — they need not end when the “season of giving” does.
And food, of course, is a timeless way to bring people together. If you want fruit at your table, try Food52’s Winter Fruit Salad, a simple yet vibrant dish that even non-cooks can ace. Citrus flavors combine with a light, syrupy dressing to make a refreshing treat amidst platters full of heavy holiday fare. Not that heavy is a bad thing; Barefoot Contessa’s Baked Virginia Ham, for example, might take strong arms to carry and strong stomachs to hold all the helpings you may take. Ham is definitely a timeless holiday staple and, as the recipe calls for mango chutney, making it yourself (with a recipe such as Food Network’s mango chutney) adds a personal touch to the classic dish. Equally as timeless as eating food together is cooking food together, so bring your family into the kitchen and make cooking these foods a celebration in its own right.
The winter solstice falls on Dec. 21 this year, officially ringing in the new season just in time for the holidays. With Hanukkah beginning on the 22nd, Christmas on the 25th and Kwanzaa beginning on the 26th, there’s no shortage of festive occasions for all. Boxing Day follows on the 26th in the United Kingdom, but all can observe its customs of giving to the less fortunate and spending a little extra time with loved ones. Finally, Dec. 31 marks New Year’s Eve.
The year — and the decade — may be ending, but their end marks an opportunity for new beginnings. But first, enjoy this final month of the year and all the gifts it has in store. The cheer it brings — and with it, love, generosity and thoughtfulness — don’t have to end with the holidays. They belong in every interaction, in every month and year. They truly are timeless.
Photo courtesy of Annie Spratt at Unsplash