It’s that time of year again when Christmas looms large in our thoughts. This year the focus is obviously on whether we’ll be able to safely spend time with our families, but whilst family, and of course religious celebration, are at the heart of most people’s Christmas, I find it fascinating how central nature is to the imagery linked to the festivities.
Alongside the cards featuring everything from elves to reindeer and the three wise men, imagery of our native wildlife looms large. Whilst the nation’s favourite bird, the robin, features in part because their red breast is one of the few bright spots at a largely bleak and dreary time in nature, other species including mistletoe and holly are represented due to their links with much old ancient festivals. These have their roots in celebrating nature and date from a time when we were also much more closely attuned to the seasons and to how vital nature is in sustaining us.
For decades most of us have spent winters largely cocooned from nature inside our homes, it’s likely that we’ll spend much more time outdoors this year in an effort to see family and friends. Whilst we are restricted in what we can do we should make the most of the things we can do – such as getting out to visit a local park or greenspace. If we can’t all be together indoors, let’s use natural spaces as places to connect with people – at a safe distance of course – as well as nature.
Perhaps, as we reflect on what is important to us this Christmas, we should make this seasonal celebration much more about the connection with nature. When out and about take time to look around for natural inspiration and for opportunities to bring a little of the outside in. Instead of buying a holly wreath, why not bring a small branch of holly inside? Similarly, mistletoe shouldn’t just be for kissing under – let’s use its bright green leaves to represent fresh hopes for the future rather than fertility!
A simple stroll on a nature reserve could be just the tonic to ensure you’re refreshed to face the many challenges we’re all learning to live with. Whilst you’ll need to wrap up warm and a flask filled to the brim with a hot drink would be advised, some time spent in nature during this festive season has the potential to warm your heart.
Our nature reserves across the county remain open for visitors, from Dyscarr Wood near Langold to Treswell Wood east of Retford. Details of all our wonderful sites can be found at www.nottinghamshirewildlife.org/nature-reserves.
We’re also delighted that our car park at Idle Valley Nature Reserve is now back open and we’re currently working to reopen the café, shop and reception. However, to be able to do this we need more volunteer support so, if you would like to help us welcome visitors to this stunning nature reserve this winter, get in touch via www.nottinghamshirewildlife.org/volunteer.
Main image: © 2020 Vision