Lately my daughter has been singing the song, ‘rain rain go away, come again some other day,’ a lot. It has been off and on gloomy and wet here for a while now. And frankly, the only thing I ever want to do in this weather is cozy up in my PJs by a fire with a good book or bad TV. But even when the weather demands relaxation, the show must go on.
So, despite the rain we’ve been ‘gettin’ our festive on’ and so far this holiday has been the best yet, because it’s the first Christmas my daughter has really understood that things are different. She notices we’re listening to different music, we’re decorating the house, we’re cleaning regularly and having lots of company…we’re not in our typical messy/shut-in state. 😉 Plus, I’m getting a kick out of sharing all our best loved traditions with her.
This year I’m trying extra hard to make this holiday about more than gifts. I’m not alone in this either. Articles like this and this were so timely and really spoke to my ‘keep it simple’ mentality. For me, the combination of recently been laid off, trying to live my social and environmental values, and my daughter’s increasing awareness has really pushed me to focus on finding my true meaning for Christmas. Since my husband and I don’t want our daughter’s association with Christmas to be just gifts and commercialized messages, we’re focusing on sharing traditions we really love and believe in deeply this year like…
- homemade fun like our advent calendar that focuses on activities not gifts (like ‘decorate the Christmas tree,’ or ‘bake cookies for your teachers’). (remember this? well now it looks like this!),
- buying gifts for others in need (and giving gifts we believe in like recycled items and donations to charities)
- cooking yummy food for friends and family to share the bounty (my husband’s prepping cookie supplies as we speak), and
- sharing family fun, like putting up a Christmas tree.
Putting up a Christmas tree is in large part a chance to tell family stories sparked by old ornaments while we decorate, sing holiday songs, and spend an evening just as a family. BUT, as people who’ve been to my house may know, my favorite scent is the smell of Christmas trees. (I hoard the seasonal scented candles around Christmas and then burn them all year long.) So, Christmas also gives me an excuse to indulge in this amazing smell by bring a whole tree into my living room, not just a little flame. (If my hubby would let me I would have a tree up year round, but let’s get real, that’d be too odd, even for me.)
Here’s a picture of our wagon pulled up to our house sporting our tree…
and here’s my daughter decorating her tree (ie, the chalk tree I drew to entertain her while my husband and I wrestled our tree stand into submission and finally got our 8 foot green beauty through the front door.)
What traditions does your family share during the holidays? I’m always looking for new ideas.