This was a much different Christmas than I’m normally used to. I usually go up to northern Ontario every year to spend it with my parents, grandmother, and all my aunts, uncles and cousins on my mother’s side, but not this year. None of my sisters and their families could make it up this year, so my mom and dad came down to the Ottawa Valley a month ago to do a pre-Christmas weekend celebration. And next weekend we’re getting together in the Valley again for our annual New Year’s Eve get together which is when we celebrate Christmas with just our immediate family. So this past weekend I spent Christmas and Christmas Eve with close friends and had a truly magical weekend. We went to a service at the Saint James United Church smack dab in the middle of downtown Montreal (which was quite nice — I haven’t been to church on Christmas in at least fifteen years). Then we went to my friend Martin and Francoise’s place for an incredible dinner, drinks, gifts, and dancing. It was a night I won’t soon forget. And now that it’s Boxing Day I find myself looking towards the year ahead and thinking of what it is I want to resolve. At first I wanted to write about gratitude, but then I realized that’s a daily resolution, not a yearly one. I thought about it for a few moments and realized that my resolution for 2012 is to spend more time with Mother Nature. This past summer I went on a few camping trips, rented a cabin here and there, and busted my butt on a few hikes, but that’s about it. I really didn’t go the extra mile to immerse myself in nature as much as I should have. Which is unusual considering how amazing it feels whenever I do get back from a weekend in the country. So get ready Mother Nature, ’cause in 2012 you’re gonna be seein’ a whooooooole lot more of me.