Family Matters: Making New Traditions
Did you have a wonderful Thanksgiving? I hope you did. This was our first major family holiday here in the new digs, and our little condo accommodated the crowd quite comfortably. Next up: Christmas! There will be a lot of decorating going on this week as we search through holiday boxes to see if what we brought from the old home will work here at the new one. I’m anticipating a challenge and multiple trips to Home Depot and Hobby Lobby. The hubster has been warned. 🙂
I’m excited for this first Christmas in Florida because it is a blank canvas. We’ve made no Christmas memories here, have yet to set certain decorations in the perfect locations where they will reside again next year. At the old house, everything had a place: the nativity decorated the mantle; the porcelain Christmas Eve scene figurines usurped the surface of the big teak cabinet; the animated Santa welcomed visitors from his spot in the foyer. For nearly two decades a nine foot tree stood in the same corner of the family room every year. Here at the new place, we’re still trying to figure out where a tree will even fit, and although there are vaulted ceilings, it is likely that our tree this year will be reduced to six feet or less to minimize the circumference of the base. After nearly two decades we’re changing things up, finding unexpected places for old traditional pieces and welcoming the fresh appreciation that comes with new views.
There will be disappointment, too, when some beloved decorations are given away or returned to boxes because there is no room here, and sadness when we discover inevitable breakage incurred during the move. But decorations—whether expensive, cheap, or homemade and priceless—are still only things, after all. They don’t constitute the heart of Christmas. And the memories we’ve made over the years stay with us no matter where the celebrations occur, and the new memories we’ve yet to create will become part of our family’s rich tapestry. As much as I loved the old traditions, the old way of things, I know I’ll treasure the new with equal verve.
For the first time, due to family member work schedules, we will celebrate on Christmas Eve instead of on Christmas. The huge brunch I always fix Christmas morning after opening gifts will be served instead late morning on Christmas Eve, and gifts will be opened afterwards. Instead of rising especially early on Christmas morning to prepare for the arrival of family, we’ll be sipping our coffee and planning time at the beach with our eldest daughter who will be visiting from Georgia. In my whole life I’ve never turned Christmas around, have never spent that holy day looking out over the vast expanse of saltwater that both swells my heart and reminds me of how minuscule I am in this universe. I feel a spiritual connection to the water, as many people do, and the notion that my Christmases going forward will include time with the surf burying my toes in the sand makes me happy.
Writing this post got me thinking about some of my favorite Christmas things, none of which will ever reside on my entryway table or be hung at the front door. These are things which cannot be broken or put away into a box. I’m not a religious person, though I’m a spiritual believer and talk to God with such frequency that I’m pretty sure he wishes he’d made me less chatty. 🙂 But religious or not, Christmas is in my heart, and there are a few things that come around this time of year and which I love and appreciate every time I hear them. The first is this quote from Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas:
“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’til his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas . . . perhaps . . . means a little bit more.”
Here it is, acted with hammy delight by Jim Carrey as the Grinch:
And this rendition of “Mary Did You Know?” may give you chills no matter your religious—or nonreligious—frame of mind. The first time I heard this song it moved past “O Holy Night” into the number one spot for me of Christmas songs. I get chills every time I hear it, no matter who sings it. This version is one of my favorites.
What things do you treasure about holidays that are important to you? Do you have a family heirloom you always put on display? A favorite song that gives you chills or warms your spirit? Have you ever, like me, been in a situation where there is a “blank canvas” on which you have the opportunity to create new traditions? Please share in the comments.
See you again this Friday, December 1st, for a cover reveal of my new release, THE WRITE MAN, coming December 8th in Roxanne St. Claire’s Barefoot Bay Kindle World.
Thanks for hanging out with me! See you Friday.
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