Janna Carlson | Brevard, NC

‘Tis the season for traditions. Those look very different for everyone. Even with all our difference, we can all feel comfort and connection knowing those around us can all find joy in this cold, dark season. As our Thanksgiving gatherings pass and we get closer to the shortest day of the year we look forward to more reasons to be with friends, family and take time to enjoy good food with them. These traditions are reflected in our classrooms. Before fall break, we celebrate, and the last day before winter break we get the chance to celebrate together again.

Thanksgiving comes and it feels like everyone is ready for warmth and fellowship. We plan, prep, and gather to make something special happen here at Mountain Sun. A few Coyotes, a couple Monarchs, a group of Acorns, a sprinkling of Otters, and lastly a splash of Owls complete a fun group to spend time with during our traditional rotation of exciting activities in classrooms around the school. I got to see this for the second time this year. As groups come into the Acorn classroom they are welcomed with the delicious smell of our friendship stew. Earlier in the week families contribute fresh vegetables, beans and everything needed to make our festive snack for everyone on that Friday. The day before Acorns work hard cutting the produce, calculating the recipe and starting the stew so it can cook overnight. I enjoy getting to see the preparations and hard work that the Acorns put into the stew. They also add plenty of love. It is amazing to see everyone enjoy the snack. As the groups work together to get from place to place and everyone gets enough to eat. They help each other in beautiful and kind ways. I feel lucky to get the chance to see all of our students being their kindest and most patient selves.

Seeing the kindness of others brings me joy. Joy is the theme of our holiday performance coming soon. During this time we get yet another opportunity to be with one another. This year our performance will have layers of singing, speaking, and acting. All of our classes are in full swing practicing. They take every opportunity to sing and plan. I am lucky to have had the happy chance to see this in action recently during lunchtime sitting in with the Monarchs and Coyotes. Shortly after lunch they began to sing. I could see everyone around the room listening or joining in on the holiday songs that they are going to be performing. It was so fun to watch. They were having a goofy time of it, but also very serious about getting each song in and all the words correct. Their voices joined together in a happy harmony that warms the heart. I while sipping my soup I could hear the drumming, singing, and joy in the room. Excitement for this tradition is alive in the air of our school. The joy it brings goes beyond Mountain Sun’s walls and into each home and family.

As this year comes to an end the holiday season brings so much joy to our community. Soon our darkest and shortest day of the year will come and go. From giving thanks to celebrating light we find reasons to come together. Eating, laughing, singing, decorating, playing, and being with those we love. Our community will continue its traditions. Our families will come together and share with one another. Warmth comes from the inside as well as the out. Let us fill the air with all of my personal favorite things; the glow of twinkle lights and candles, the smell of Fraser Fir Trees and oranges, the feel of wool socks and puffy jackets, the sound of singing and crackling fires, and taste of friendship stew and any cookies within my reach. ‘Tis the season for continuing or creating traditions.

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