Holidaze (2016)

January 1st, 2017 - filed under: The Farm » Family

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It’s been a big beautiful whirlwind of a Holiday Season! However you celebrate and wherever you are, I hope you enjoyed the Winter Holidays surrounded by warmth, joy, and the people that you love most in the world.

Here’s some of the highlights, from our many celebrations.


Winter Solstice

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We celebrate the Winter Solstice at my godparents house, with a small group of close family friends, and have been for as long as I can remember. This is where I learned to honor the changing of the seasons; the balance of darkness and light. Solstice is my favorite of the winter holidays, because it’s the one that connects us to the Earth.

Our Solstice celebrations have undergone many evolutions over the years, but there are some traditions that never change. Most importantly, my godfather makes fire, the old fashioned way, by rubbing sticks to create a spark. Then we take turns blowing on the tinder ball to grow the flame with our breath. Once the fire catches, we stoke it and tend it, building it to a bonfire. The center of our circle. Into the fire we send our intentions: we release our fears or we cast our dreams.

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And every year one of us reads the same poem. Always.

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Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.


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The Winter Solstice grounds me. Reminds me of my place, in the family of things.

Welcome, winter.

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♥ ♥ ♥


Christmas

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I was never a Christmas person until I had a child. But look at that face! My goodness, Christmas is freaking FUN.

And we’ve developed our own family Christmas traditions, as well. I always have Waits on Christmas Eve. My dad comes over and we exchange gifts, and then Waits writes a letter to Santa and we set out some snacks. In the morning, Damian and his partner Danielle come over and we all do Christmas morning together, as a family. Then in the afternoon Damian takes Waits to have Christmas with his parents, and Jeremy and I . . . well, we usually nap. Ha! But really, we get a nice lazy Christmas evening together, and it’s awesome.

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Playing Minecraft in a kitty cuddle puddle, waiting for Damian and Danielle to arrive.


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I bake a lemon loaf every Christmas Eve, with Meyer Lemons from my little tree. Four years straight, and I’m finally ready to post a recipe!


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♥ Our family. ♥


Hanukkah

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Hanukkah is another holiday we spend with my godparents. Did you know Manischewitz is vegan??

Waits had already been celebrating Hanukkah with Danielle and her family, so he was an old pro by the time we gathered together on the fifth night. He knew most of the words to sing (in Hebrew) during the blessing. He proudly informed me that the middle/special candle on the menorah is called the “shamash”, and he knew all the symbols on the dreidel, including their Hebrew names and meanings. His enthusiasm is pretty adorable.

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A homemade feast!

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We always hide presents, and then do “warmer/colder” to hunt for them. I remember hunting for gifts as a kiddo, and now it’s so much fun to be on the other side of it. ♥


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Give that man tools and he’s a happy camper.


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Dreidel games, and we even had vegan Gelt! Waits totally kicked our butts.


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Dessert: blood oranges with agave and fresh rosemary. Perfection.

It was another magical night full of happiness, laughter, and love. Of tradition, and family, and light. And I feel so lucky that I get so many of those!

♥ ♥ ♥


New Years Eve

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And finally, there’s New Year’s Eve! No traditions here, it’s different every year. And this time around we had Waits, but a buddy of his was having a kid’s party starting at 5 and going until 10ish. Pretty awesome! I dropped him off with his gaggle of happy, scrappy, barefooted and half-feral boys, and was able to steal away for an evening out with my honey.

We hit our favorite date-night spot, for an incredible vegan Japanese feast. It was epic, as always.

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After dinner we still had plenty of time, so we popped across the street to our favorite SB cocktail spot. Our friends are the owners, and it was great to be able to see them, and toast to the new year together!

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After that we were off to go pick up Waits. I was so excited to ring in the new year with my two favorite boys! We got home, got cozy in our pjs, got the Time Square streaming set up on the TV, and . . . Waits promptly fell asleep. Ha!

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It’s okay, we roused him in time for the ball drop, and toasted together (pink bubbles for Jeremy and I, a sparkling mocktail for Waits) at the stroke of midnight.

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We counted down together, and screamed “HAPPY NEW YEAR” together, and then all three of us smooched. It was Waits’s first time ringing in the New Year, and I was surprised at how absolutely overjoyed I felt at that moment, sharing it with him.

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Silliness.

We all know that 2016 was hard. And let’s not pretend that 2017 will be any easier. Which is all the more reason to embrace those precious moments whenever they happen. So -here’s to being present, being grateful, kicking ass, fighting for what’s right, loving hard, living big, and capturing as many amazing moments as possible in the coming year.

Cheers! To all of you, and to us.

  • lysette

    That Mary Oliver poem tears me up every time <3

  • Sarah C.

    Happy holidays to you and your sweet family!

    And this is of course no surprise, but – the picture of your home bar set-up! WANT! I want to come to your house for cocktails! ;)

  • veggiesara

    Happy new year Sayward <3 I hope you have an amazing year filled with laughter and love!
    I'm glad you got to share so many wonderful moments with your loved ones. And I'm happy to keep following Bonzai Aphrodite (: xxx

  • veganinbrighton

    Happy New Year! I loved reading about all of your holiday traditions.

  • Blake Fraina

    This is so OT – but where did you get that gorgeous vegan biker jacket? I’m having serious wardrobe envy.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks so much Jojo, and the same to you. Happy New Year!!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks Sara! Happy New Year to you, and I hope your holidays were filled with fun and family as well. ♥

    Also, thank you so much for continuing to follow along here. it means so much to me! I have so many fun things planned for the blog in 2017!!!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks Sarah, and Happy Holidays and New year to you, too! And yeah, the home bar . . . Not bad eh? Jeremy is quite the collector of bottles, and then after opening Still we really expanded the modern barware and vintage glassware. It’s sort of out of control now! But — in a good way. ;-D

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    It is one of my all time favorite poems. She is so amazing! And it’s just so perfect for the Solstice, the coming of winter, and the changing of the year. ♥

    Happy New Year, Lysette.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Aw thank you! I got it secondhand (of course) and I was sooooo stoked to find it! It has a faux-silk leopard print lining too, eeee!! It’s by Phanuel and it’s great quality. I’ve worn it a ton and it’s really held up (you know some vegan leather wears out quickly). Might be worth hecking secondhand sites like Etsy or Poshmark?

    Anyway, happy New Year Blake!

  • Rebecca Carnes

    Love seeing all of your traditions!!! P gets to celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas as well lucky kiddos lol….super cute to watch him light the candles, he was trying so hard to learn all the words to the prayers:) Ummm….and your bar is amazing!! Happy happy New Year!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks Becca, and happy new year to you too!