What an unusual December this has been. How is everyone doing? I just wanted to check in. I feel a bit disconnected and would love to hear what’s on your mind this week. Here’s some of the random stuff I’m thinking of:

– Hanukkah. It started yesterday. Do you celebrate? Or do your relatives or friends celebrate? If you’re curious about the holiday — or mistakenly think of it as “Jewish Christmas” — you might find this short video interesting.

– The fires in Southern California. So many buildings destroyed and so many people evacuated. There are schools that closed last week that won’t reopen until the new year. And a huge number of people will be displaced for the holidays. It’s hard to comprehend the amount of damage.

A reader commented on my most recent Few Things post that she was surprised I hadn’t mentioned the fires. When I read her comment, I thought: It’s true, the fires have barely been on my mind; am I heartless? I suppose it’s because it seems like I’m barely seeing any news coverage. I feel like I saw more updates when the Napa Fires were burning. Is it just because I live near Napa? What about you? Are you seeing lots of coverage of the fires? Do you have friends and relatives that have been personally affected and evacuated?

– The Doug Jones election. Maybe I’m not seeing much coverage of the fires because my news feeds have all been focused on yesterday’s election. Were you watching? I couldn’t bare to look at the results all day long. My daughter Olive gave me the good news when she got home from theater rehearsal last night and I jumped for joy. I could hardly believe it.

Related commentary today has been interesting. I’ve seen relief and joy. I’ve seen disgust that the race was so close in the first place. I’ve seen response pieces about how Black Women continue to be the backbone of the Democratic party, and disbelief that so many White Women would vote for Moore. Have you read any good response pieces? I’d love any recommendations.

– I’m behind on my work. I mentioned something about this last Friday, but I’m really feeling it this week. Not sure what it is — I work all day but feel like I’m not making headway or true progress. Maybe it’s the rush to complete as much as possible in the next few days? Before the pre-Christmas week begins and people mentally check out? If I have too many days of feeling like this, I get really discouraged. I’m hoping I’ll have a breakthrough some time today.

– Instagram breaks. This morning I realized I’ve taken some long Instagram breaks this month. Not really intentionally; I guess I just haven’t had any desire to open it up. And it’s not just Instagram, my social media use on Facebook and Twitter has been really light this month too. I’m sure I’m not alone. It makes me wonder if we’ll see widespread shifts or changes in social media trends in 2018.

– Tickets as gifts. We have my sister Rachel’s family in our sibling Christmas gift rotation this year. Her kids are all grown up — high school age and older. I’d really like to send the whole family tickets to something fun. Should it be a show? An adventure — like a zip-lining course? Have you heard of Escape Rooms? What sorts of experiences do you like to gift? I have a few ideas, but would love more!

– Holiday decor. I’m loving how our house feels this year, all dressed up for the holidays. The outside isn’t too exciting — some twinkle lights and a wreath. We’re off the beaten path and don’t get any car or foot traffic — so I find there’s less motivation to deck out our exterior for the holidays. But once you walk inside it’s joyous. The tree looks great. The stockings too. There are pretty boxwood wreaths hanging. Lots of red and green — and everything is working really well together this year.

I had a gift card to Pier 1, and this weekend, we took the kids to pick out something new to add to our holiday stash. I was thinking maybe they would each pick out an ornament. Instead, they chose this super soft and cozy Sherpa throw blanket and this fun little llama. Hah! (Both of those are on sale, by the way.)

I think that’s it for now. Please feel free to respond to anything here, or bring up your own topic. I always love hearing what’s on your minds!

P.S. — I’ve mostly shifted my random thoughts posts over to my newsletter this year. Here are random thoughts posts from the archives.