The winter holidays and celebrations are soon upon us in this beautiful city of Asheville, NC! As I was driving home today, I couldn’t help but notice the plethora of colors on the mountainside. Dreaming of those “Thomas Kinkade cottages” sitting like a beacon of enchantment through the forest, I anticipate the warming comforts of family and friends.
The winter holidays once held anticipation out of selfishness for the materialistic things I would be getting. As I grew up and people passed through my life and out of it, I began to realize the importance of connection. The threads that bind family, friends and community are so much more important and fulfilling than any item that would otherwise become forgotten. Then, of course, said item will always collect dust by the end of the year.
There was a time in history when a community would come together at midwinter and exchange items to help each other get through the rough spots. Symbolism was and has remained an important part of the season. Mistletoe associates with peace and goodwill, the yule log is lit to banish evil spirits, defeat darkness and bring good luck for the coming year, and the yule holly and ivy are both evergreen plants, symbolizing the eternal nature of the sun. Every culture or belief is different and I use that more as an example.
With these things in mind, this year let’s come together as a community and remember those close to home that could use our help during these cold months of festive celebrations. From Thanksgiving to Midwinter, there are wonderful places for people out there that can use our support. Loving Food Resources, Western North Carolina AIDS Project, MANNA, ABCCM, and Helpmate (Buncombe County’s primary provider of crisis services to victims of domestic violence and their children) are to name a few that you can contact. Let’s also not forget the service men and women from Asheville who are so far from home this time of year.
This year let’s start early and give the gift of some comfort, joy and connection to those who would otherwise feel heartache, desperation and detachment. Asheville is a great city. Let’s come together and be a beacon of enchantment into the hearts and lives of those in and from Asheville!