In England, the last Sunday before Advent is called Stir-Up Sunday, a name derived from the first words of the Collect that is read in church on that day: “Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people.”
These words were creatively applied as an injunction to start making the Christmas puddings and pies, which folklore says should be stirred clockwise with a wooden spoon, with all family members taking a turn in this order: mother, father, children, and visitors.
In 2015 Stir-Up Sunday falls this weekend, November 22, and you might take this opportunity to consider how you want to approach the winter holidays. Are you going to slow down and hibernate, staying in and enjoying the quiet and the cold? Or are you going to go all out with festive decorating, present buying, and party hosting?
Whatever you decide, this might be the right time to make a plan for how you will spend the next six weeks—an important transition period in the turning of the year. One way to decide which path to take is to ask yourself this question I borrowed from Christine Valters Painter from Abbey of the Arts: What is the season for?
Waverly Fitzgerald is a writer, teacher, and calendar priestess who has studied the lore of holidays and the secrets of time for decades. She shares her research and her thoughts on her Living in Season website and in her book, Slow Time. She is currently working on a series of essays about looking for nature in the city and blogs for the Seattle PI as the “Urban Naturalist.”