Saturday, December 24, 2011

What Christmas Means to Me

It's complicated.   But we are going to celebrate and I'm not going to stress about trying to get it all figured out, just right, today.  Christmas can mean different things to different people and our family's meaning can evolve as we create our own traditions.  However, in all of the conversations, emails, and comments that were shared (thank you, thank you!) a few thoughts have formulated that I want to put to "paper" so that I have a starting point for next year, and the year after, and the year after.

Celebrating together as a family is important to create a sense of family unity and togetherness, traditions bring us together and are something that we can all share.  Celebrating and having family traditions help create memories and strong family ties.

Christmas, and the whole month of December, is generally a time when people in the community come together to help others, give to those around them, and are generally cheery and happy.  I can get behind that.

I like lights and cheery, happy things to make us smile in the dark, gloomy time of the year.  Christmas lights, snowmen and snowflakes, evergreen trees, bright red bows, all of those beautiful symbols that remind of us of light and life are very welcome during the dark, hibernating season.

I want to focus on giving meaningful, handmade gifts to those in our lives.  To really try and stay away from the buying frenzy of always needing to spend more and give bigger, more expensive gifts.

Traditions (big and small) that I like:
  • Having books, about many different holiday traditions and stories.  Christmas, Hanukkah, religious, traditional, Solstice, all of it.  We love reading books in our house.  Lots of books fits us well.
  • Having a countdown calendar for the whole month of December, with a new activity to do on everyday.  Visits to Santa, delivering goodies to the neighbors, buying a gift for a toy drive, making gifts for family, looking at Christmas lights, something to celebrate everyday.
  • Writing a letter - even if it only ever stays on this blog! - to sum up the year and all that is happening in our lives.
  • Baking :)   It's terrible for you, but it's so much fun to bake traditional goodies and share them with everyone around you.
  • Holiday music and holiday movies, to be gotten out with the holiday books.  There is something fun about books, movies, and music that is only available during a certain time of the year.  Especially when all of it is so happy and focused on the good in life.  We have a lot of good.
  • Creating a sense of magic around anonymous gift giving for my children.  Santa is really about the magic of a surprise and getting a gift from someone you don't know...I like the tradition that other magical creatures can leave gifts too.  Maybe elves?  The Grinch?  A nutcracker?  Rudolph? I think it would be fun to help Scout play the role of the "anonymous gift giver", both at our house by leaving gifts from magical people under the tree, and by anonymously giving to our neighbors and families in our community.   Giving without expecting thanks is magic itself.
  • Wrapping presents in brown paper bags and brown wrapping paper leftover from packaging and decorating it ourselves.  I hate the amount of money that is spent on paper and wrappings that just goes in the garbage.  I think this will be especially fun with little kids who might like to help color and decorate packages!

I'm sure this list will grow and change over the years, but I'm excited to celebrate with our little family and create traditions that fit with us and our values!

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