Fall is in the air, despite the fact that I’m writing this on a dry ninety-seven degree day in Ojai. No sweater weather here. We will take our PSL’s iced, please. Our local Boccali’s Pumpkin Patch is in full swing! It is a highlight of fall in Ojai, offering big, small-town fun complete with pumpkins and a Haunted Hayride. I have always loved the holidays; decorating and setting the table are my favorite part. Arranging flowers into a stunning centerpiece has always been my job for the family get togethers. I obsess over it, thinking about the right container, color pallet and what flowers are in season, maybe because I’ve never been a great cook. (Baking is different, I do love to bake, probably because it makes the house smell yummy.) Anyway, my point is, to cheer you on to try something new this holiday season, whether it’s baking, floral design or something else. Go for it!
What I want to share is encouragement, use your own creativity, ideas and insight to make flowers if that’s your passion. The first time I made a floral centerpiece for my mom’s table at Thanksgiving it was so tall you couldn’t see over the flowers to have a conversation with the people on the other side of the table. I remember mentally noting to make the arrangement lower next time. While eating the delicious dinner I studied the curve, color and placement of each flower. My flower designs progressed from there and have become an integral part of our holiday traditions. Last year, at thanksgiving, I used my older son’s pottery as a container for flowers and my youngest helped me design.
My youngest son, he’s ten, told me the other day that Thanksgiving is one of his favorite holidays. “It’s just about being together,” he said. He’s right! I would also add that, for me, it’s also about gratitude and reflecting on the simple joys of life. One of the greatest pleasures in life is to feel like a contributing part of a community, a tribe. By creating a safe, warm, comforting, beautiful space to gather and collectively contribute to the holiday, we make lasting memories that upon reflection may be some of our best. A strong childhood memory I have is making (and eating) pie cookies with my grandma Nella. I can almost smell the pie dough, cinnamon, sugar and love baking in the oven.
My husband and I announced our engagement at Thanksgiving (twenty-two years ago), my sister told us she was pregnant with her fifth child, we cried for joy holding hands when several family members had their health back, have sung “Over the River” more than once and tearfully remembered loved ones now passed on. All tribes and situations look different and may be made up of a community of friends instead of a family you were born into. Everyone has something to contribute to the beauty of the season. Share your gifts! Make that apple pie, arrange flowers, encourage your kids to cook and create! Be inspired by those around you and the time of year. Embrace your own unique style and traditions.
Thank you for reading this,
With gratitude and a spirit of creativity,