Monday, December 12, 2011

Reason for the Season

Everyone has there favorite traditions for
the holidays.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanuka, Kwanzaa, New Years Eve

A Talley Stocking

This was my stocking as a child.  
Made by a family friend from Germany.  
She made one for everyone in my family.
We had one that hung on the mantel at home 
and one that hung on the mantel at Ben Lomond Farm  
The girls had red heels and toes and the boys had green.

Which ever holidays you celebrate...
they all come with their own set of traditions.
Some are from our childhood,
some are from our spouse's family,
some are religious, ethnic, regional or secular...
and some are 
brand new modern traditions that we create with our new family.

Regardless where they come from...
they are the things that 
tend to put us in the holiday spirit.

Nativity


Our Nativity
 is the very first decoration that is brought out every 
Christmas Season at my house.

The Christ 
in Christmas
This set is a bit worn and tattered...
the poor baby Jesus is even missing an arm.
The manger itself will not sit flat because the floor is warped.
However, it still conveys the profound
reason for the season.

When the holiday season rolls around 
starting with Thanksgiving.
I start to recall the 
traditions 
from my child hood.


My family of origin live so far apart 
and we rarely get together
for the holidays anymore.
And I sometimes find myself feeling a little blue.

Last week I was telling my sister
that one of the things I felt 
was missing in my
daughter's life was family tradition.

I was telling her...
that I felt like Mary was missing out on the 
"family"
element of the holidays.


I also told her

that I didn't remember hardly any of the Christmas presents that I receive over the years.
But what I do remember...  
being with family
and the traditions...
most of which I groaned about as a child 
and miss now as an adult.
(Well, most of it anyway)

One of the traditions that stands out the most for me is

tramping through the woods at my grandparents farm with all the cousins
hunting for the 
"Perfect" 
Christmas Tree
(Cedar Tree of course)

and filling trash bags full of ...

Running Cedar 


and 

Standing Pine

to make wreaths and garland.


This morning I was reminded of how wrong I was about our own 

Family Traditions


Where is baby Jesus?

Mary looked at me sort of puzzled...

It's not Christmas ...


"He is in the Angel's arms!
Remember, we don't put the baby Jesus in the manger until Christmas eve."
Mary reminds me.

This is another one of 
our
Christmas traditions.

We are struggling this year as are many families.
And I am fighting the knee jerk 
reaction
to feel sorry for myself...
  that I can't give to my daughter
 and all the nieces and nephews all the things that I want to.

I think it has even begun to wear off on Mary a little.


Then I am reminded of something from one of my 
Favorite Dr. Seuss books

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

After he has stolen all the Christmas trees, presents and decorations...

"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 'till his puzzler was sore. 
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. 
What if Christmas, 
he thought,
 doesn't come from a store?
 What if Christmas, 
perhaps, 
means a little bit more?!"

So what if ..

the presents
we give our loved ones this year
is
our "presence".

That is was we remember when all the tinsel is gone!

Gingerbread House

2009

building with Uncle Pauly...
Stringing lights with Dad,
Making homemade ornaments, treats and gifts with me.


Going to see the 
"Christmas House" in Nags Head Woods and now
eating Chinese take out on Christmas Eve.


Putting baby Jesus in the manger on Christmas eve 
after going to mass.
"Finding the Pickle" Christmas morning.
(this is a traditions shared with us from the Strauss cousins)




Christmas Pickle

I cringe when I think of all the artificial dyes and preservatives 
in that store bought gingerbread kit!
What was I thinking?
I know what I was thinking, 
I was thinking the same thing I am thinking
now.  
It is the time we spend together that are the 
"presents" we give for Christmas.

So...
I see now that I have more traditions than I realized.


I just needed a different perspective.


So maybe this year...
we will do it by scratch.  
Homemade gingerbread, royal icing...
and other less 
harmful treats to decorate with.

I shared a craft project with my sister last week
from a blog that I love
She probably had already seen it
since this is one of
both of
our favorite bloggers.

Advent Calendar


By: Design Sponge

And look at what she did...

Luke and Boone's 
Snowman Advent Calendar






Now this is what I am talking about!

Way to go... little sister!  
We may be miles apart but we share the same heart.

You inspire me.

When Mary gets finished with her studies today...


we are going to have to find a project of our own.


Running cedar and standing pine may be a little difficult to find here on the Outer Banks
but there is a cedar tree in my back yard that could use a little trimming.


May everyone have an abundance of 
"presence" 
this 
Christmas Season
or
which ever holiday you do or don't choose to observe.


Leave me a comment...
I would love to hear about some of your holiday traditions.

2 comments:

Susang said...

We always had the same meal on Christmas Eve growing up, fondue. Mom would get beef cubes, those little round new potatoes, and I don't remember what else, and that's what we had every year. It was a nice memory. It's worked out now that the girls spend Christmas Eve with their Aunt and Uncle, and Dad, while I am running around like a crazy lady cooking etc. But it's fun though!

Green Gourd Creations said...

Aaahhh... I love fondue. That was absolutely one of my all time favorites as a child. I still like it, I even have 2 fondue pots ... one for the meat and another (double boiler) for cheese or chocolate. We dust them off every once in a while, it is usually a hit.

Did Caroline tell you we had chocolate fondue at Mary's New Year's Eve party year before last? I think all the girls had a good time. Mary asked if we could have another party this year. We might just do that, if we are in town.

Thank you for sharing your family tradition with me Susan.