After a social summer with bold conversations and an engaging autumn full of celebrations, we are approaching the darkest night of the year, a different rhythm of winter, and a new year in the Gregorian calendar. For many of us, the month of December can be a busy time of wrapping up projects and end-of-year reports, scurrying to purchase gifts, and preparing ourselves and our homes for the holidays. 

While the push and bustle before the holidays can be exciting, it can also be important to slow down and let our systems rest before pivoting into a new chapter. A time to catch our breath and reflect on all the projects, accomplishments, questions, and challenges the past year has encompassed. As households across the states and territories prepare to pause for holiday break, humanities councils are offering meaningful opportunities to come together during the final month of the year:

On December 3  Fundación Puertorriqueña de las Humanidades (The Puerto Rican Endowment for the Humanities) hosted its first Fiesta de las Humanidades, an all-day festival to “celebrate  thinking, research, creativity, reading, and the sharing of diverse knowledge and ideas, produced from plural perspectives.” Nevada Humanities is offering “Wonders of Nature” Art Workshops with Bobbie Ann Howell where participants will create paper birds together to welcome in the winter. Indiana Humanities hosted a community listening party of the “McCormick’s Creek State Park” episode of How to Survive the Future podcast, followed by a community discussion on Indiana’s biodiversity “and why it is worth saving” with scholars Alex Alex Chambers and Mary Welz as well as ecologists Ellen Jacquart and Steve Cotter. 

Alabama Public Television will premiere Rural Revival: The Civilian Conservation Corps in Alabama. With support from Alabama Humanities Alliance, this documentary film explores the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) impact and its lasting effect on the land and people of Alabama. Maryland Humanities’ Museum on Mainstreet Program presents Crossroads: Change in Rural America, a traveling Smithsonian Institution exhibition that prompts discussions about “what happened when America’s rural population became a minority of the country’s population and the ripple effects that occurred,” at the Oxford Museum.

Council programs like these encourage connection and contemplation as we wind down for winter and transition into a new year.  Whether you are celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, 2023, or the simplicity of the falling snow, the Federation wishes you a time of rest, reflection, and connection as you and yours head into the holidays. 

Written by Jazzy DiMeglio