The holiday season, with its twinkling lights, merry songs, and festive gatherings, often evokes images of family and togetherness. But for many, this time of year doesn't fit the traditional mold. Whether by circumstance or choice, spending the holidays alone is a reality for some.

Yet, solitude during this season can be its own unique gift, offering moments of introspection, peace, and self-discovery.

As streets fill with joyous revelers and homes echo with laughter, there is an inherent beauty in finding one's own rhythm amidst the holiday hustle. It's a time to reflect on personal journeys, celebrate individual growth, and look forward to the promise of a new year.

The warmth of the season isn't just found in crowded rooms or bustling family gatherings; it's also present in the quiet moments, where the spirit of the holidays can touch the heart in unexpected ways.

For those spending the season alone, the holidays can be transformed into a personal retreat—a time to read that book you've been putting off, to listen to the winter's silence, or to take a serene walk outside. It's an opportunity to connect deeply with oneself, to rediscover passions, and to set intentions for the days to come.

While the world celebrates in its own way, remember that the essence of the holiday season is universal. It's a celebration of love, hope, and renewal. And these feelings aren't reserved for crowded tables or family gatherings. They can be found in the stillness of solitude, in the gentle rhythm of one's own heartbeat, and in the quiet acknowledgment of one's own journey.

This season, embrace the solitude, for it too has its own story to tell—a story of resilience, strength, and quiet hope.


The charm of December lies in the festive celebrations and the serene moments we spend at home. Creating a cozy sanctuary can be essential to keeping the winter blues at bay and cherishing the warmth of your surroundings. Here are five tips to help you transform your home into a snug winter retreat:

Layer with Textiles. Incorporate layers of soft textiles to enhance warmth. Think plush throw blankets, velvety cushions, and thick area rugs. These elements also add visual depth to your space.

Embrace Soft Lighting. The right lighting can instantly elevate the ambiance. Opt for warm toned fairy lights, dimmable floor lamps, or candlelit lanterns. The gentle glow will make spaces feel intimate and inviting.

Incorporate Natural Elements. Bring a touch of the outdoors inside. Consider wooden decor, pine-cone centerpieces, or potted indoor plants. These elements introduce a rustic charm and connect your interior with the natural winter landscape.

Enhance With Aroma. Engage your senses with calming winter scents. Use essential oil diffusers or scented candles with fragrances, such as cinnamon, pine, or vanilla. The familiar aromas can evoke pleasant memories and create a comforting atmosphere.

Declutter And Organize. A tidy space is a peaceful space. Remove unnecessary items and create designated spaces for everything, which can positively impact your mental well-being by offering clarity and calmness during the holiday season.

With these tips in hand, you're all set to create an inviting, cozy, and comforting winter haven. Enjoy those tranquil moments with a hot drink in hand, while basking in the warmth of your winter sanctuary.



Sparkling water (chilled)

Fresh cranberry juice (unsweetened)  

Fresh lime juice

Fresh mint leaves

Crushed ice

Cranberries and lime slices for garnish


  • Fill a glass with crushed ice.

  • Pour in one part cranberry juice and two parts sparkling water.

  • Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Gently muddle a few mint leaves at the bottom of the glass.

  • Stir gently to mix the flavors.

  • Garnish with a few cranberries, a slice of lime, and a sprig of mint.

  • Serve immediately and enjoy the festive fizz!


December's festive spirit transcends borders, and almost nothing brings people together like food does. Let's embark on a brief culinary tour and discover a few traditional dishes that warm hearts and bellies during December:

Moroccan Tagine: This flavorful and aromatic slow-cooked stew brims with tender meat, dried fruits, and a medley of spices.

Ukrainian Borscht: This hearty beet soup, often served with a dollop of sour cream, is a comforting staple. The vibrant red color and earthy flavors are synonymous with Slavic winter feasts.

Japanese Mochi: These soft and chewy rice cakes are filled with sweetened red bean paste. Consumed during the New Year celebrations, they're a delightful blend of texture and taste.

Mexican Pozole: A traditional soup made with hominy and meat, typically pork, seasoned with chili peppers and garnished with radish, lettuce, and oregano, this communal dish brings many families together during the festive season.


A few years ago, a young couple went backpacking through Europe and found themselves in a small town in the mountains during the holiday season. The town was beautifully decorated, with twinkling lights adorning every tree and building. One evening, as they were walking back to their hostel, they noticed a small, unassuming shop that they hadn't seen before. Intrigued, they decided to step inside.

The shop was filled with handmade crafts, each one more beautiful than the last. The shopkeeper, an elderly woman with a warm smile, told them that every item in the shop was made by the people in the town. They would spend all year creating these crafts, pouring their heart and soul into each piece, and then sell them during the holiday season. They were touched by the sense of community and the love that was put into each craft. They ended up buying several items to bring back home as gifts.

This experience reminded them of the true spirit of the holiday season. It's not about the hustle and bustle, the endless shopping lists, or the stress of getting everything done. It's about community, love, and the joy of giving.

This holiday season, take a moment to appreciate the magic around you. Remember, it's not about the quantity of gifts, but the quality of the love in our hearts.

Gino Pezzani

RE/MAX Heights Realty


P.S. If you ever find yourself in a small mountain town during the holidays, take the opportunity to step into a local shop. You never know what treasures you might find.


Tucked amid traditional ornaments on many holiday trees is a peculiar sight: a glass pickle. While some people believe its origin is German, most Germans are unfamiliar with it.

The custom? Hide the pickle ornament on the tree, and the first person to find it on Christmas morning gets good luck or even an extra gift. The tradition's origin is debated. Was it a marketing scheme or maybe a nod to old legends?

Regardless, this quirky custom has cemented its place in holiday lore.


Have you ever noticed that December, so filled with the busiest days in the year, also happens to have the shortest days in the entire year? From summer onward, night slowly creeps up earlier and earlier each evening so that by the time we get to the solstice on roughly December 21, we face the shortest day of the year.

With those short days come long lists of errands to keep up with the hustle and bustle of the holidays and, if you are like me, you run out of daylight long before everything is completed. However, after the busy days draw to a close, those long nights are ripe for lingering around a table with friends and a second helping of dessert. And those cold winter mornings are the ideal time to put out food for the little birds that never seem to stop fluttering with joy. If you hang up holiday lights this time of year, consider this: you are not just hanging them up for yourself, but for everyone who is driving by on a dark evening and suddenly feels a bit of cheer at the sight of twinkling warmth.

Countless donation drives kick off in December with constant requests for contributions, but this month also makes for the perfect time to place a note of gratitude directly into the hands of someone you genuinely appreciate and tell them, with nothing held back, how they change your life for the better. No matter how much or how little time you have, give of yourself and light up the night.

The point is that we can choose how to perceive that short day in December just as we choose how to perceive the other 364 days in the year. The darkest day could not exist without the presence of light. Thank you for being a source of light in my life, and for being someone who can light up the night.

I’m sending back love and light with this letter, and hope you find joy in every day this December!


Gino Pezzani

RE/MAX Heights Realty


Perched on a cliff's edge, overlooking a vast, churning sea, stood Leo, an old lighthouse. He had been guiding ships safely for years, his light cutting through the darkest nights and foggiest days. But during the holidays, when the village lights twinkled and laughter echoed, Leo felt his solitude most acutely.

One frigid evening, when the icy winds howled and the waves raged, a wounded seagull sought refuge upon Leo's weather-beaten windowsill. Leo, embracing this unexpected companion, radiated a gentle, welcoming glow, offering respite from the merciless chill that gripped the lonely bird.

As days turned into nights, Leo and the seagull discovered solace in their silent companionship.

When the festive holiday season finally yielded, the fully healed seagull prepared to rejoin its feathered kin. But before taking flight, it left a brilliant, iridescent feather as a token of gratitude upon Leo's window ledge.

Each year, on that same day, a single seagull would visit Leo and leave behind a feather.

And Leo, the lonesome lighthouse, realized that solitude, when embraced, could lead to the most unexpected and profound connections.


National Cookie Day, Dec. 4. Bakers unite and warm up the ovens for holiday baking!

First Day of Hanukkah, Dec. 7. This 8-day Jewish festival also is known as the Festival of Lights.

Winter Solstice, Dec. 21. This is the shortest day and longest night in the Northern Hemisphere, signaling the official start of winter.

Christmas Day, Dec. 25. This Christian holiday celebrates the birth of Jesus. Nonreligious people and those of different faiths celebrate the day as a cultural event.

New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31. The last day of the calendar year is marked by celebrations worldwide welcoming the New Year.

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