I’ve always looked forward to the holiday season. Yes, I love big meals, endless desserts, gifts (giving them especially), ice skating, and the crisp smell of winter air, but there’s something deeper that I love about the holidays. Specifically, there’s something to how the holiday season shifts my perspective on time. Normally, life sweeps my attention down countless disparate paths: a chaotic montage of past achievements and mistakes, future hopes and anxieties, and occasionally—if I can manage it—the present. But every year, sometime after Thanksgiving, Mariah Carey’s voice first drifts down a department store aisle to tell us exactly what is on her Christmas wish list (hint: there’s only one thing), and reminds me to reflect with gratitude on the past year, to be present with the friends and family around me, and to look forward with intention and hope to the new year. The holidays are a time for me to listen to the bigger, slower rhythms in life, measured in months and years, and yet also a time to cherish the minutiae that so easily slip by otherwise: friendly smiles, an unexpected sprinkle of nutmeg, and warm blankets while the wind howls outside. It is this unique temporal tapestry of past, present, and future that I love most about the holidays.