Tuesday, December 3, 2013
I can't believe it is already December! November really flew by. I can't believe that it is the first Monday of December and my Christmas tree is not decorated- gasp! I am one of those goofy people who think Thanksgiving should be allowed a time of its own to be the holiday. So we don't do Christmas till December, but the lights and decorations take so long to put up and take down, it is wasted if you don't have them up the whole month- besides they are pretty and fun and I love Christmas time even more than Thanksgiving.
So I am sitting here in disbelief and mildly stressed that I did not fulfill this one family tradition- decorating the tree for our first family night of December. The kids noticed, well the little ones did. My plans got derailed and it got too late, too fast. Dad was not stressed about it at all, just thought it best to get them into bed- my race horse instinct kept kicking in, telling me-"You can do it. Keep trying." Maybe I could have but I put the kids to bed promising tomorrow. My eight-year old cried.
In the grand scheme of things, missing this one day won't have a long term effect on our tradition (I hope). The tree will be decorated tomorrow. The boxes are in the living room and my three- year old and fifteen- month old have proven how efficient they are at covert seek and destroy missions. Mystery boxes full of pretties are too much of a temptation. With that kind of pressure, it is a done deal. So I am trying to relax.
I love traditions. When my husband and I went through training to become foster parents, one of the things we were encouraged to do was to share our traditions. Traditions give you roots. They help put things in perspective and that helps make life easier to deal with and more pleasant.
Over the years we have passed on traditions from our childhood homes, created new ones specific for our family or for the year or the circumstances. Some have changed slightly or been altered completely to accommodate our family's growth. I love that my six- year old knows that today is tree-decorating day without being told and that she is excited about it and will be ready to go at it tomorrow. Maybe my kids will forget that we missed the day this year and just remember that we got it done and it was beautiful. I love that my fifteen-year old and twelve-year old know how to make fudge and have done so already- YES! I love the Christmas music they play on the piano and various other instruments. I love that they join me when I randomly start singing Christmas carols or songs. I do not love shopping, never have but I love taking my kids out one by one so they can find a gift for a sibling. We have friends who only make gifts to give for Christmas and I think that is AWESOME! Some day I might be organized and mature enough to try that one but for now I am okay with shopping.
My dad used to give my sisters and me each some money and take us to the store so we could buy gifts for the family. It was great because we always wanted to get that one thing we knew a sister, Mom or Dad would love. Being young and living fifteen miles out of town made it impossible without his help. Dad was great at teaching us to think about others. He only had three girls at home at that time. We have nine so we have altered it to fit us. We draw names, then I take one child out at a time and let them choose something. It is wonderful how well they have gotten to know each other's interests. likes and wishes. It is great for me to have that time with them. What is great about it is not the things we buy so much as the thought that goes into the purchase- kind of like O. Henry's The Gift of the Magi- well we are not sacrificing heirloom watches or hair, but the idea of knowing and loving the person in order to give a good gift is the same.
Which brings up another tradition, the Christmas stories- the accounts of Christ's birth in the scriptures, A Christmas Carol and a multitude of other small, warm, fuzzy Christmas stories. Well, I missed the target tonight, but I have the rest of the month to make up for it. There is still plenty of tradition to go.
I hope you all have a magical Christmas season enjoying your own traditions.