Sunday, December 27, 2009

More Christmas Thoughts

Wow - what a great Christmas we enjoyed.    Those of you who know us and who read this blog know that the past couple of Christmases were very emotional and somewhat difficult.  We missed our missionary son very much, and our daughter had had some pretty severe challenges. 

This year, both kids were home, happy and healthy.  Such blessings.

But going back to my previous post about traditions, I'll give you an update.  Ironically, B came home from college and said, "hey!  Where are those little stockings that hang up to countdown to Christmas?" And, "Wow - we didn't even do one of those cardboard chocolate countdown thingies"!  After I picked myself off the floor, I was happy to know that he had a memory of those and that they DID matter.  I just may put them back up next year.  We even led the old hubby to realize that, as many of you pointed out to me, it's okay for traditions to change.

A few traditions that will stay:

New Christmas jammies - I know many people have this one.  I got them every Christmas during my years at home with parents on Christmas Eve.  Mom would only let me open ONE present then, and of course it always happened to be jammies, and she would say, "Oh, my goodness!  Christmas jammies!  What a surprise!"   I have continued the same reaction with my kids ever since they were little.  This year we opted for ones that were not matching.  They show our individuality - love them. 

Puff Pancakes - this started with Hubby's family.  We love them on Christmas morning.

There are of course more, but those are worth mentioning here. 

A couple of new ones:

We decided at the last minute that we wanted to just enjoy being the four of us on Christmas Day.  I hadn't planned ahead, so I  had no Christmas dinner food.  So we of COURSE opted for Chinese food, playing off another tradition of watching "The Christmas Story".  Yum!

Hubby was given the gift of tickets to a local dinner theater for the whole family to enjoy a delicious buffet and the production of "White Christmas".   We attended the day after Christmas. It was so very enjoyable.

I don't actually know if those will become actual traditions, but they both made for great memories.

What might change:

As I wrote in that same previous post linked above, for about 12 years, we have had what we affectionately call our Christmas Eve "Misfit" party.  (NO offense to any of you who have attended!!).   We consider ourselves east coast misfits - we have no family living anywhere near us.  This party tradition came about for two reasons - one, when our children were little,  we wanted to be with someone on Christmas Eve to help us all  not be quite so lonely and to not miss our extended family so much.  And two, we had a large amount of "transplants" in our ward who were in our area without family.  We didn't want them to be lonely and sad at Christmastime.  So, we started the first year with about 20 people or so, and some years it ballooned into close to 50.  Yes, 50.  This became our Christmas service to many around us.   We also felt the blessing of being with them - they blessed us back!  Many of you who read this blog have attended.  These moments helped to bond us all together as family, even if it was just for one evening.

Now that our children are older, it doesn't have the same feel any more.  Our family is changing, and so are those families of close friends who have attended every year since the beginning.   While we enjoyed the evening very much every year and this year as well, perhaps this tradition will also become a memory.  I will, however, be worrying about those children who don't know Christmas Eve any differently other than coming to our home to be a msifit, too.

We'll just have to WAIT a little while and see.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Changes

Should family Christmas traditions change?  I'm not sure, but I think some of ours are changing without my permission.  How does that happen?

I love advent count-downs to Christmas.  One of my favorites is made from little stockings with stars and numbers.  I made it with lots of love and care for my little ones about 13 years ago.  Each year I carefully chose the candies to go in each stocking, and when they came home from school, we would all take fun moments together to peer inside and get our treat for the day.  Well, for the 4th year leading up to Christmas, B is not even here (do 21- year- olds care about such things anyway?).  L didn't care if it was up or not.  Hubby wasn't a bit sad about it not being included this year.  We always buy one of those cheesy chocolate count-down things you can find at the party store.  Didn't buy one this year.

Every year we go to the Messiah Sing Along.  It has always been a birthday gift to Hubby.  It is his all-time favorite family thing to do.  We actually started attending years ago before our children were born.  L didn't want to go - adamantly did NOT want to go.  Do you make a 17 year old go?  We didn't-oh, and she had a REALLY bad headache on the day of the performance.  Hmm.... Hubby was very sad about all of that, and so was I.  I tried to be brave and assure him that things change and it's ok-but I wasn't really feelin' it.

We have lived away from family our entire married lives.  About 10 oir 12 years ago, we began having a big Christmas Eve party,  welcoming those around us who also would be spending the holidays without family.  It became our yearly service to others, our tradition--our way of not missing family so much.  This year, even that changes.  One of the families that has joined us every year since the beginning will not be attending.  Their family has changed - grandbabies have come along and daughters-in-law have "say".  While I completely understand, it causes us sadness.

The party will continue this year, at least for one more time.

This weekend as I started putting up the decorations, and as I began preparing for decorating the tree tonight, I wondered why in the world I go to so much work?  It's not magical anymore as it once was.  When grandchildren do come along some day, they probably won't live near us.  Cue the violins....The pity party has begun.

As I begin entering this new phase of life, I don't really like it too much right now.  I have to search for new ways to cherish this time of year.  I don't know how to do that.  I must be really shallow.

Guess I'll have to WAIT a little while.