Holiday rituals and traditions

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Is it just me or does December feel like the shortest month of the year? Somewhere around the first of the month I am usually feeling on top of things. Then it is suddenly the 15th. Then the 20th. Then it is a new year. How does this happen?

Time flies when we're having fun, it is true. But, it also speeds by while we're driving 100 miles an hour to the mall and back every day. We know we should slow down, simplify, and focus on the reason that we are celebrating instead of the amount that we are spending, of course. But how do we savor the sparkly days and peaceful nights of this month? How do we look forward to the celebrating instead of dreading the workload of the holidays?

I believe that the answer lies in creating rituals or traditions that genuinely make us happy and give us something to look forward to from year to year.

Here are two ideas:

1. My husband and I have a new Christmas family tradition. Our goal is simple: to look forward to this time of year and celebrate with the same joy that we see in our children. This year we set up a Christmas "village" on our dining room table. The boys were SO excited as we unwrapped each building and set up the little town. All four of us are delighted by each and every piece and I know that we will love adding to and setting them up each Christmas.

2. Last New Year's Eve, our boys were both under three years old and we were still not getting uninterrupted sleep at night. We wanted to celebrate the new year but in a quiet way. We sent our oldest son to Grandma's house for the night (he loves that!) and put the baby to bed. Then we kicked off our evening with wintery music, champagne, candles, and a cozy spot on the couch. We spent the entire evening talking, listening to music, and feeling truly relaxed and connected. It was so what we needed and we plan to recreate that evening as best we can this year. Sorry Dick Clark, we have a new plan for December 31st!

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