I had my first cup of hot chocolate last night after a brisk walk with my mini schnauzer, Molly. Our neighborhood, the residents of which are very competitive in the township’s Holiday Decorating Contest, is in the midst of transformation, professional light installers were still on tall ladders, tucking white C9 bulbs along roof lines in the dark. We don’t pay someone to do ours, we do it old school. Little forest creatures and a snowman will soon find their way into our front yard; we’re adding solar powered string lights this year, doing what we can to minimize our carbon footprint.
For many of us, Christmas will be smaller this year in many other ways. Less family gathered under one roof as we continue to live under the threat of COVID. Fewer gifts under the tree because so many of us are out of work; perhaps our Renaissance festivals were cancelled and income has been thin. For 267,000 American families, there will be an empty seat at the table. If you’ve lost a loved one to COVID or to any other cause, blessings and light. Holidays are hard when loss is freshly present.
I have discovered a lot this year. I immersed myself in books like Just Mercy and Untamed, looking to cultivate empathy for myself and for my fellow humans. I learned about writing and relationships and grace. Like many, I lost a job. It’s been a strange year, but with its own set of rituals and traditions. Candles to be lit, prayers to ascend, small scale funerals and weddings, fun-sized trick-or-treating. And now, we’ll have what national treasure Dolly Parton calls a “Hard Candy Christmas.”
“I’ll be fine and dandy, Lord it’s like a candy Christmas…I’m barely gettin’ through tomorrow…still I won’t let sorrow bring me way down.”
In this issue, we’ve explored what the winter holiday means, from ancient Pagan times, through the medieval and Renaissance periods, to now in Cajun country. We’re wrapping up our series on diversity and representation in the fest world, getting real about motherhood in the holidays, introducing you to a phenomenal human being whose acting work and mental health journey are beautiful, and revisiting wintry fairytales. There’s gorgeous photography and a heavenly playlist. We hope you’ll enjoy and share with your friends.
We’re looking forward to 2021. Hopefully, with the flip of a calendar page, we will begin to see light and sense hope. Meanwhile, find ways to connect with your loved ones. If you’re in a position to holiday shop, please consider buying handmade or a service gift certificate from a festival vendor. I’ve included here, and on every page, the link to a website that has listings for many faire artisans and merchants. Whatever your winter holiday looks like, be it pagan, Christian, or secular, we hope it’s celebrated with love and your loved ones.
With Warmest Regards and Multitudinous Huzzahs,
Kim Bryant, Editor-In-Chief, LadyFaire Living Magazine
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We’d like to introduce you to an excellent resource if you’re looking to shop from a festival artisan. It’s been researched and developed by a fantastic pair of women: http://www.rennieartists.com