Socorro’s holiday light parade went on as scheduled Saturday, despite all that rainy, gloomy weather. All that rain was staying-in weather, but plenty of people still lined California Street to watch the lights go by.

It sounds like holiday light parades in Albuquerque and Los Lunas were similarly damp. But what are the holidays in December for, if not an opportunity to become festive in the face of cold, dark days?

The month ahead of us is packed with holidays: Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa. And of course, there are a couple of holidays behind us as well. It seems like once October comes the rest of the year plays on fast forward. There is still a pumpkin by my front door that was put out for Halloween (surprisingly, it hasn’t rotted, so I left it through November).

Then of course we get winter solstice this month, and New Year’s to finish the holiday season off with a bang.

There’s so much gift-giving and good food yet to come this month. Tamales, biscochitos, sugar cookies, candy canes and Christmas morning cinnamon rolls. One friend told me she’s already bought her preferred butter for Christmas cookies, because it always sells out before December, and she likes to make batches and batches of cookies for family and friends.

One gift no one wants is the flu, or COVID, or RSV or any of the other contagious illness swirling about. New Mexico’s Acting Health Secretary David Scrase issued a public health emergency order last week because of the surge of pediatric patients for respiratory viruses. I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard more coughing at the local grocery store than usual for the last few weeks, and also seen more people in masks.

I managed to get sick for Thanksgiving, and I’m trying to avoid any more illness on holidays, please and thank you. An at-home Thanksgiving is not so great when you live alone—although my apartment was very tidy by the time the weekend was over.

Holidays can be a bummer for plenty of reasons. If you find the holiday season “to be more difficult than joyful,” St. Paul’s United Methodist Church has its Blue Christmas service next Wednesday.

Socorro was packed with holiday events over the weekend, but the festivities aren’t over. If you’re looking for more ways to celebrate, you could check out Mariachi Christmas at Macey Center next week. If you need another light parade, Magdalena’s Christmas in Toyland is Saturday night. Maybe it won’t even get rained on.