The seasons of darkness and light, never more pronounced for me than last year. November was filled with making festive cards and gifts. I baked four large fruitcakes, used my new press to make images for cards, started knitting again, and began the festive season enjoying the twinkling lights as they began to appear.

Then, at the end of the month we lost one of the brightest lights of our lives. Our dear friend Hilarie Ann was one of the most authentic artists and humans we have ever known. She had an infectious laugh and was beautiful in every way. Her art and creative vision through word, voice and magic transcended this earthly plane and will be forever missed.

We entered December mindful of our own loss – and all the loss and sorrow the world over – but also the promise of brighter days and the blessings that surround us. So we embraced all the joy and love of the Yuletide, our favourite celebration.

For the first time, we bought an amaryllis bulb and what a beauty it is! The second flower spike is still showing off six gorgeous blooms. There were some amazing weather events and sunsets in December, and many beautiful light and decor displays all through downtown and all the other neighbourhoods.

Christmas came and brought with it some intense feasting. Friends shared one of their traditions by bringing us a biscotti tree which we enjoyed on Christmas morning. And, Father Christmas delivered my favourite gift: snow! Such a rare treat for Victoria, there was just enough to delight, and not so much to make life too hard. I was very thankful for it.

Our greatest blessing throughout the whole year: our sweet cat – loving companion, comedy relief, joyous creature.