... I realized that it was January 14th and we still had decorations everyone, I hadn't started on my thank-yous, and this Christmas blog series was way behind. This is definitely the opposite of cutting off Christmas on the 26th.
Having Miranda has made me stop to consider the holiday and all its trappings. It's been interesting and somehow comforting to think through what I want to do for Christmas, and why. Here's some of what I've been pondering:
- What kinds of traditions do I remember and treasure from my childhood and adulthood? Some of these are pretty predictable, but good nonetheless. I loved traveling to my grandparents' home. There were always sweets in little tin canisters, and lots of jellies and jams for breakfast, and a veritable sea of presents under the tree. We'd gather on Christmas Eve and open them, enjoying the evening. Then, Ellery and I would camp out of the floor and await Santa's visit. As an adult, I love visiting my parents' homes and seeing the same decorations, year after year; it's so comforting and welcoming. My mom has these holiday glasses and spoons that she puts out every year; I just love seeing them when we arrive, it feels like Christmas. And for several years, we also took an afternoon to shop for a family for the Salvation Army, which was one tangible way to express an outward concern during this increasingly selfish season. I also love receiving holiday pictures and letters; it makes me feel connected to folks near and far.
- What do I particularly enjoy doing during the Christmas season? What are my special giftings? Four main things, which have lots of overlap: cooking, decorating, entertaining, and serving. I love the holiday meal; I love cooking it, and I love eating it. And I don't like creativity in this meal; it needs to be the classics. So, I'd like to offer this to our family each and every year, as a cornerstone of the holiday experience. I also like decorating, bringing out the same things every year as welcomed and cherished friends. "Hello nativity scenes, I've missed you! It's good to see you again!" I loved hosting our holiday movie party, and hosting the Browns for Christmas dinner; I'd like to continue these in the coming years.`
- What are new traditions that I see our family developing? How can I nurture them?We've had the blessing of celebrating Advent with our community for the past few years, and it's something that I'd like to prioritize in the years to come. Perhaps we could combine the daily opening of the Advent calendar with the reading of the daily scriptures. We've also done Chrsitmas morning brunch for a few eyars, and it's a ncie way to begin the day. In addition to the usual holiday decorating, we covered the front door this year with the cards and family pictures we'd received from friends and family. This was a great way to combine tradition and keeping up with friends and family. The flip side of this is that we've sent our own picture/letter a few (non-consecutive) years, and this is something I'd like to continue doing. These may sound somewhat commonplace, but sometimes it's nice to gradually live our way into meaning, as it were.<>
- How can I pursue these holiday moments without creating stress and unhappiness in our home? This is a big question for me. Sending 100 holiday letters sounds like a good idea, until we actually have to get it done. And even if we don't mind the folding, stamping, and addressing, it still takes time and energy. Ditto with decorating, cooking, everything else. What can I do to make these things fun, family-oriented, and an integral part of the holiday experience?
These are just some of the things I'm considering; next year it may be totally different!
Last year, my advisor Robert said, "Next year will be a great Christmas, Miranda's first real one to remember and to share." He was right; it was wonderful.