Fall is well underway, with all of it’s beautiful colors, wonderful smells and cherished traditions. This is the season of melodic change, nostalgic pastimes, and all of the warm and cozy feels. Before the leaves shed, they depart with their brightest costumes yet. Rich hues of red, orange, and yellow coat the landscapes across mountains and valleys. The colors are candy to the eyes, twinkling wonders of the beautiful changes occurring as this new season unravels. Along with the crisp season come the countless festive fall activities and traditions which we always fall back to each year (no pun intended). Luckily, there’s still plenty of time to take part before Fall is over. Maybe these traditions have significance to your family, or perhaps just to yourself and your friend group. The traditions of fall can bring back great memories and warm feelings we have created throughout our lives. It’s not too late to jump into these cherished Fall experiences! Here are some memorable seasonal activities you should definitely add to your Fall bucket list before it’s too late:
1. Seasonal Eats
November offers a bounty of seasonal fruits and vegetables, harvested and ready to be eaten. Harvest comes from the old Norse word haust meaning “to gather or pluck”. In fact, fall used to be called the “harvest”, since farmers would gather their crops in preparation for winter months. A lot of people have apprehension about all the eating during the winter months. We often think of the pies, baked goods, candy, comfort foods, and endless sweets that seem to be everywhere and unavoidable. Indulging in these treats is perfectly okay, but let’s not forget about the healthy foods fall and winter have to offer.
To name a few, some of these seasonal crops include apples, cranberries, sweet potatoes, carrots, cabbage, squash, and even Daikon. Now, before you rule out the fresh produce and head to the pre-made and boxed dinners and sides, imagine the delicious meals than can be made.
There’s nothing like a hot bowl of soup with ingredients that boost your immunity and energy during the winter months, especially when you’ve made the soup yourself. You can easily search to see what produce are in season, and then be mindful of this as you pick up your weekly groceries. Taking advantage of the seasonal foods is a great way to initiate your own traditions by cooking favorite meals on holidays and special events.
From dishes like cinnamon roasted sweet potatoes, apple cranberry and walnut salad, autumn minestrone, apple pie, cozy casseroles and various comfort foods, fall is a great time to welcome new tastes and wholesome ingredients back into your life.
2. November is National Novel Writing Month
National Novel Writing Month, shortened to NaNoWriMo, takes place each year during the month of November. While this may not be a centuries old tradition, (only beginning in 1999), it is certainly one worth taking part in if you’re an aspiring writer. Between November 1 and 30th, participants attempt this online-based creative writing project. It may sound daunting at first, since the goal is to write a 50,000 word manuscript. Everything is done through their online website, where writers can find additional motivation, advice, and a community of support throughout the process.
This project was initiated by Chris Baty, a freelance writer in San Francisco Bay area with only 21 participants. By 2015, there were more than 431,000 participants from over 630 different regions. If you’re looking for a challenging push forward in your writing career, or in search of a fulfilling passion project, this would be great for you. With no registration fee required, anyone can enter. Additionally, if you follow the rules and successfully complete all guidelines, anyone can be declared a winner.
If you win NaNoWriMo, it would be a fantastic addition to your resume. This movement has proved that when people come together to encourage and motivate each other, even greater things can result.
3. Story of the Nutcracker
A story of one family’s Christmas Eve that carries a history of beauty and performance along with it, this is the Nutcracker. Finding its origins in St. Petersburg, Russia, it is believed two ballet masters Lev Ivanov and Marius Petipa worked closely together to create the holiday ballet. The performance is set to music by Tchaikovsky, and first premiered in 1892. Now this iconic story of one girl’s coming of age, named Clara, is performed all over the world each year. It is usually running in late November and December, so now is the ideal time to purchase tickets!
If you’ve never been to the Nutcracker, I give it the highest recommendation. As a performer in this show for over five years, there is a true magic behind the story. As the San Francisco Ballet describes it, “—the lights dim, the music soars, snowflakes swirl, flowers dance, and a little girl dreams about a whole new world in a Nutcracker that is as unique as it is magical”. This performance has something for people of all ages, especially since the characters themselves span across young to old ages. Vibrant and tasteful costumes, lights, sets, and atmosphere are only one part of this enchanting show. Professional dancers combined with Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece will wrap you up in this fairy tale, leaving you in awe. It is the perfect event to bring family or friends to, and enjoy an evening swept away by this holiday tradition.
4. Tradition of Pumpkin Patches
If you weren’t able to visit a pumpkin patch this year, here’s why you should definitely give it a chance next year! Once October hits, it seems we’re scrolling through endless photos of our friends dressed in autumn fashion, surrounded by none other than bright orange pumpkins in a pumpkin patch. What is the hype really about? Every place is different, but many pumpkin patches are on individual farms, including hayrides, mazes, on-site farm animals, attractions, picking your own pumpkins of course, and so much more. Heading to a pumpkin patch in early October is a great way to get into the spirit of the season, and entirely affordable. Typically, prices for admission run around $3, but many farms don’t even charge at all.
There’s a great selection of family farms and locations, each trying to distinguish their own activities and events. While you’re on the hunt for the perfect pumpkin, you may want to head to a couple different pumpkin patches to see what they’re each about. You may prefer an organic farm with a laid-back atmosphere, or one of thrills and energy full of attractions. No matter what, you’ve got to make it to at least one. Remember, whether you end up enjoying it or not, you’ll still walk away with some incredible photos, and your home will be a better place with the arrival of the pristine pumpkin you found.
5. Staying Indoors Is Not as Boring As You Think
As the winter months deepen, we tend to spend a lot more time indoors. The days are shorter, the nights are longer, and we all require a bit more coffee. While some days it may be entirely necessary to bundle up fireside while sipping hot cocoa and watching Netflix, there are still things we can and should push ourselves to get out and do! Winter can be a great time to explore the “great indoors”. By this I mean the place we live, with all its secret spots waiting to be discovered. Bookstores and coffee shops are always safe bets, but who knows what you’ll really find. Go on an adventure in your own windy city with an open mind. Seek out the perfect sweater, award winning cup of cocoa, or vintage treasure. Winter will never be Summer, but it can be appreciated for what it is and what you can do during these next few months.
Try out new restaurants, head to an indoor ice-skating rink, or bring a friend to an art museum. There is excitement in the unknown, and adventure in discovering it. Remember also to stay connected with your friends and community. Isolating yourself is never a good plan, and it doesn’t have to be difficult to reach out. Work up the courage to send an email to an old pal, or better, write a hand-written note. Rekindling a friendship through pen-pal notes is an easy way to stay in touch and something to relax with during the indoor months. Additionally, you can look beyond your own sphere of friends, and give back to people in need. During the holidays, there are so many convenient food-drives and collections already organized that you can easily donate to.
Consider volunteering at a soup kitchen or local homeless shelter. Often times, when we step out and take the focus off of ourselves, our perspective changes and we appreciate what we do have so much more. So stay inside, but remember to venture from place to place when you feel up to it, and make the effort to connect, you won’t regret it.