My dear mom would be shocked to know that I have left any correspondence so long! If Mom was here, I suppose I would tell her that life, as always, has been busy and full. I would tell her that at Cedar Mountain, besides designing and making things we love, we’ve been celebrating birthdays, compiling tasting notes on our favourite baked goods, and laughing a lot. I would also mention all the time Don and I have spent playing with our grandkids, visiting family and entertaining friends. And I would explain that somehow, in the middle of all the busy-ness, ten months just slipped by without me noticing. And Mom, who was really never judgmental, would nod her head, say she understood and then ask about those baked goods and whether we might have some with tea.
Mom loved the holiday season and one of her many annual rituals was sending Christmas letters to friends and family, especially her relatives in the UK. She didn't just send one or two-line Christmas cards, but instead spent hours hand-writing lengthy letters, with her impeccable penmanship, describing in great detail the accomplishments of every member of the family. My dad always tried to convince her to either type her letters or hand-write one letter and photocopy it, but Mom wouldn't hear of it. She wrote individualized letters to every person on her list. And so, in honour of Mom, I have put on the kettle and poured myself a cup of PG Tips before sitting down to tell you more about what we've been up to. Although, following Dad's advice, I'm typing!
This past year, like most years, has been full of ups and downs. Of course, ongoing sadness on the world stage affects us all, and also highlights how lucky most of us living in Canada are. I try to remember that when I look at my grocery bill and feel the pinch of inflation and a global recession. I also try to remember that I'm lucky to still have so many people in my life who love to raid my fridge! My youngest daughter, son-in-law, and two grandsons still live next door and my grandsons spend every Saturday with Don and me. There's lots of snacking involved! My oldest daughter was on maternity leave for most of the year and spent a big chunk of it on Salt Spring with her family. It was a joy to watch my granddaugther grow into a one-year-old toddler before my eyes! My son, who lives in London, also spent some time in Vancouver for work and we were lucky to be able to visit him and our daughter-in-law both in Canada and the UK this year.
While there's lots more to say about each of my kids and grandkids, this year, I'd like to spend a bit more time telling you what Don (or Donnie, as Mom used to affectionately call him!) has been up to. Anyone who has met me for five minutes knows that I love to brag about my kids and my grandkids. It's now a running joke in the family that all my grandkids are "advanced" (although, to be fair, that's true!). But I don't often boast about Don, who has been my partner in life and in this business for over 40 years! Sometimes it's easy to take your most constant people for granted. Although, one of the things I love about Don is that he doesn't sit still long -- he constantly has ideas for our life and the business. This year, at the age of 69, Don decided he wanted to become a candle-maker!
After years of making wood-based products, Don wanted to work with a new medium; and as with everything he does, Don threw himself into the project. Whenever I wondered where Don was on a weekday evening or Sunday afternoon, I would walk down to our barn to find him hard at work stewing over vats of coconut and soy wax. For a year, it's been all about pour temperature, burn time and of course, concocting the perfect scent. I think every one of us at Cedar Mountain has smelled a hundred different combinations of essential oils! And so, after lots of experimenting, fun and hard work, we have introduced a line of small-batch, hand-poured candles with Don's signature "coastal mountain" scent. As with everything we do at Cedar Mountain, we wanted the candles to say something, to make people laugh or reflect. We wanted something that could be given as a gift with a little extra meaning. While I find it hard to pick a favourite, the candle on my table right now says "It's good to be home."
And as we get closer to the end of the year, that's how I'm feeling. It's good to be home during these long, dark evenings, especially when the fire is on and the lights are soft. After a year of busy-ness, it's good to sink into winter for a while -- to wear cozy socks, drink tea, snuggle into the couch, and go to bed early. I hope it feels good to you too! And whether you are hosting your entire family or have plans for a calm and low-key season, I hope your holidays are happy! Wishing you all the best for the new year!