Happy Holidays

Hurray for happy holidays! We enjoyed a multi-day visit with my parents. New Year’s Day = visiting Mr. GeoK’s parents. We shared Christmas dinner and an after supper board game with our youngest. But thanks to a glitch in “the system”, we had to make do with a Christmas Day video call with our oldest & partner. For a bunch of reasons, an extended family get together didn’t happen this year. That’s okay. Here’s hoping everything will line up for a whole family gathering next year.

Meanwhile, here are some highlights from our 2022 Christmas season:

1. In Search of Christmas Spirit

We kicked off the holiday season with an immersive light and sound experience in Banff. Called “In Search of Christmas Spirit,” the outdoor experience is set up in a lovely garden. The illuminated sculptures, story and sound effects tell the story of the wildlife of Banff National Park.

For the second year in a row, we ended up with tickets for a “bad weather” night (it was colder than -30C/-22F). The free tickets sell out quickly when released to the public, so you just have to choose a night and hope for the best. Or in our case, dress as warmly as possible. And bring hand warmers!!

This is one of my favourite photos from our December 1st visit. To see more, check out this Relive video.

Light sculpture of three wolves howling at a full moon

2 and 3. Back in the Bird Feeder Business!

I wrote about our short, first attempt to support overwintering birds here. Thanks again to Brome for sending replacement bird feeder parts. And thanks to Mr. GeoK for making three trips to the hardware store to get the bits and pieces to relocate the repaired unit to more than 3 meters/10 feet up one of our pine trees. We hung a suet block holder higher up on the original post .

We are really enjoying the chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers and Clark’s nutcrackers that are now regularly visiting our backyard. One of our resident squirrels busily scavenges dropped sunflower seeds from below the feeder from dawn ’til dusk. Occasionally, a black-billed magpie pecks around under the suet block holder.

man standing on ladder sawing branch off pine tree

There’s one backyard visitor attracted by dropped sunflower seeds that I’m not happy about. If it’s a recurring thing, we’ll take the birdfeeder down for good. This photo is a bit “soft” because I shot it through a triple-paned window.

coyote with open mouth standing on snow

4. Christmas Star

The Christmas Star is a key element of Nativity story. Over the years, I’ve learned what camera settings are needed to create a “star” from a bright light in a photo. So I used a favourite isolated stand of trees to frame a sun star during one of our many sunrise photo walks in December. We had a lot of great sunrise photo walks this month – despite the extended deep freeze!

Sun star peeking between a group of tree trunks casting long shadows on the snow

5. Taking the Bad with the Good

That’s life, isn’t it? We have no choice but to take the bad with the good. Our only choice is how we respond. So grateful that my circle of family and friends almost always chooses to respond by finding the silver lining, generosity, and/or a simple smile. Like Mr GeoK, when his inner child opted to crawl under a tree across the trail! 🙂 I didn’t even notice the title of the sign until we were back home. Serendipity!

man holding camera crawling under a tree across the trail next to a sign that reads taking the bad with the good

Those are just five photos from another month of noting joy and practicing kindness – habits that help keep the happy holidays feeling alive all year.

Hop on over to A ‘lil HooHaa for a peek at the happy holidays experienced by other photo blogging challenge participants. While you’re there, please consider joining us for 2023. We’re a small, friendly and supportive community. All you need are five photos each month. The amount of accompanying text is up to you. Host PJ publishes the next month’s theme at the bottom of his monthly posts. I’ll add it here, as soon as it’s available.

Thanks for reading. If you have a few more seconds, please drop a comment sharing one thing that made your holidays at least a little happy. I’m always open to new ideas. 🙂

8 thoughts on “Happy Holidays

  1. Pingback: Nearby Nature Project: 2023 January - Out & About with the GeoKs

  2. These are some great photos! Well done! I love the sun one. And the visitor may be unwanted, but what a gorgeous photo! That’s quite the camera yi\our husband is carrying. What is the camera/lens?

    1. Yep, that’s his “big gun” for birding. It’s the OM-System OM-1 (they bought the Olympus camera division about 18 months ago) with a 150-400 telephoto lens (that’s the equivalent of 300-800 in full-frame). It’s got a built in 1.25 teleconverter, which gives the equivalent of up to 1000mm reach when switched on. He’s nailed some amazing bird photos since he bought it in 2022 – another year of no travel for us.

  3. cmiked

    You’re unwelcome guest is beautiful but I’d prefer to stay behind several panes of glass as well. Beautiful pictures. I look forward to sharing another year with you. Happy New Year!

  4. Who needs “bad weather tickets” to the “Search for Christmas Spirit Show” if you have your very own Christmas Star?
    That coyote (that’s what it is, right?) may be unwelcome, but oh so beautiful.
    Your small-ish family gathering sure beats the “no in person visits” of the past two Holiday seasons. Did you get any LEGOs?
    Happy new year, Denise!

    1. No Lego for Christmas, but I did build two sets in December – Starry Night (now on display on our mantlepiece) and Santa’s Front Door (which was part of our Christmas display). Starry Night is a Lego interpretation of Van Gogh’s Starry Night, done in collaboration with MOMA. It was a very long build, so no need for a Christmas Lego set this year. 🙂

  5. Oh my, that Christmas star shot is magnificent! Sometimes I have trouble finding Christmas Spirit in the middle of all the holiday chaos so I try to carry that spirit with me throughout the year instead. I tried some “hot” birdseed to help keep the squirrels out of my feeders…..but the birds don’t seem to like it either! I’m switching back to my regular blend. A squirrel problem is nothing compared to your unwelcome visitor! I wish you and yours a wonderful 2023. 💜

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