A New Holiday Tradition

A New Holiday Tradition

(You Inspire Me Because)

By Gale Straub

Sponsored by Rockport Shoes

This time of year can feel a little like limbo. In New England, we hover between warm and cold, rain and snow. The leaves have fallen from the trees and blanket the ground in brown.



It’s the darkest time of the year, too. We’re warmed by the promise of holiday lights, but the sun sets, unceremoniously, at 4:00 PM. There’s a beauty to the starkness of the landscape, and yet I often feel restless, like I’m waiting for the next big thing: be it snowstorm, holiday get-together, or morning frost. I’m on the lookout for real winter, and this limbo is unsatisfying and contagious. Small talk in New England consists of the weather – we compare and contrast years, we hope for more snow.


It’s too easy to settle into these muddy thoughts when I should be pulling on muddy boots. I turn to the woods for some answers; I find I think better in motion.

I walk a familiar path. It’s briskly cold and instantly my mood is lifted. The air catches in my throat and I know my cheeks are red. All of a sudden, this in-between world feels more like the present.


I think of how often I’m inspired by landscape, in sight and sound and feeling. I love how it constantly changes, how it keeps me wanting more.

And even more significant, I think of the people in my life who inspire me. These are people I respect and learn from, who turn life on its head. Some are part of my every day and some, like you, I may have never met in person.

Here’s the thing, though. I realize that I don’t usually tell these people that they inspire me, or why. It’s intimate. It’s revealing. It’s personal in a way that relationships don’t always get in our social media saturated lives.


I head home and my head is buzzing. I decide to start a new holiday tradition: I’m writing short notes to the women and men in my life who inspire me. I’m letting them know how and why in the hopes of brightening these darker days.

I encourage you to write a few as well. The holidays are a great time for appreciation: imagine if we all expressed it? Think back to the person who inspired your career change or the woman whose smile made you check your attitude. Maybe it’s the small things, the stamina of your running partner or your brother’s sense of humor.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll need to run out for more stamps.


Postcard by Erin Vaughan Illustration. Notebook by Heather Day Art.


Rockport Alanda Chelsea Boots – I love them because they’re classic, low maintenance, and easy to slip on and go.

Cobb Hill FreshExcite Waterproof Laceups – These lightweight, waterproof boots keep your feet warm and dry in light snow and rain.


Photos by Gale Straub

Gale Straub is the founder of She Explores and the host of the She Explores podcast. Learn more at galestraub.com.

Editor’s Note: This post is sponsored by Rockport Shoes. While we received compensation to create this post, we want you to know that the concept, opinions, and photographs are entirely our own.

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