The Livingston Inn | Madison, Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast

Fair Trade Holiday Festival

IMG_5076Tired of all the news about Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and everything in between this holiday season?  If so, we highly recommend you re-vitalize your holiday shopping with Madison’s 18th annual Fair Trade Holiday Festival this Saturday, December 6, 2014, from 9-4, at the Monona Terrace Convention Center on Madison’s famous isthmus, located just a few blocks off the Capitol Square. Continue reading

The Light of a Winter Solistice

Candles lit on the Winter Solistice

Candles lit on the Winter Solistice

There are so many things to love about this time of year, whether or not you celebrate any religious holidays.  Today is solstice, the shortest day of the year, and it seems pretty clear to me that no matter what your belief system – and even if you don’t have any at all, really – this time of year is about light.  Candles and Christmas lights offer a pretty sanctuary from what might otherwise be a dark, challenging time.  In Madison, it’s sometimes dark by four o’clock!  Grey, overcast days and short daylight hours can make it hard to face the morning — or the very early night.  Physically and symbolically, light offers hope in the darkness, and represents a reminder that the days get longer again, starting tomorrow. Continue reading

Christmas Traditions

Christmas tree in front parlor

Christmas tree in front parlor

At a recent party I attended, I found myself in a fascinating conversation about Christmas traditions and the emotional impact they have on us. An acquaintance told me how, when her mother recently died, the most important things to her and her sisters were their mother’s Christmas ornaments. Some of the ornaments had been in their family for generations, and many of them had special memories attached to them. The sisters were very careful to distribute them fairly, honoring as much as possible individual preferences, and any distinctive attachments each sister had to specific ornaments.  She told me this story with such reverence and it was clear that the emotional connection to the ornaments and to the experience of having to divide them mindfully, almost sacredly, was powerful. Continue reading