Holiday Traditions

How do you celebrate the holidays? And let’s be frank here, by holidays, I am mostly talking about Christmas.

I am not a religious person, and my kids have never been inside a church. No, that’s not true – my oldest and I did attend a service with friends three years ago. It’s not that I’m against it all, I just don’t see the point. Actually, I can feel myself going down a rabbit hole that I’m not ready to go down, so I’ll stop that line right now. Suffice to say, our family celebrates Christmas, but in a secular way. And since history tells us Christmas is probably more a pagan celebration of the winter solstice than the anniversary of the birth of the eponymous man, I don’t even feel hypocritical in doing this.

Anyhoo, we are still inventing our holiday traditions in our family. We do keep an Advent calendar. I bought it several years ago and expect to pass it down to one of my children. It’s a wooden box with doors, and within the doors are 24 drawers. I fill each one with two little candies (chocolate kisses and that sort of thing). Each day the girls take turns opening the drawers. This year K is opening the odd numbered drawers and B is opening the even ones. But there are two candies in each, so they both get a prize every night. I must confess that there are nights it gets forgotten in the swirl of activities in our brief time between the end of work and bedtime, but we make up for it the next night. Or the next.

Last year K learned a lot about Hanukkah in Kindergarten, and wanted to celebrate it at home. So this year I bought a small mennorah, candles and even dreidles for the girls to play with. I realize we are now on the 4th night of Hanukkah, and regret to say we have not yet lit any candles (see earlier comment regarding swirl of activities).  But we’ll catch up tonight. Not being Jewish, I think we’ll offer up some things we are thankful for, or things we’d like to think more about in the coming days, weeks or months.

I also came across this idea, which I love, love, love. As a single parent, I often feel our days are so full of just getting through the necessary tasks to live that we lose sight of the fun and magic in life, and in this season. While I obviously didn’t do this in time to start on December 1st, I think I’ll work on it to start on the 14th, making it the 12 Days of Christmas. And if it goes over well, we’ll do it for the full 24 next year.

What other traditions does your family follow?

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One response to “Holiday Traditions

  1. We don’t go to church regularly either, for a variety of reasons. We have been occasionally, and we went to a Christmas Eve service last year for the music, which is the thing I miss about regular church attendance (I used to sing in the choir). But there are a number of things about modern-day Christianity that bother me, not the least of which is the startling lack of resemblance to anything that Jesus actually taught. But I digress. You asked about traditions. We have a Fontanini nativity set that was in Scott’s family when he was a kid. I have a cardboard pop-out kind of thing that was in my mom’s family when she was a kid. (We don’t get that one out yet.) We always have lots of lights. Everywhere. The kids are young yet, so we haven’t had a lot of time to establish our own traditions. Last year I get did Mary Margaret a paper advent calendar to count down the days, but it just opened to see a picture. This year I found each of them a chocolate Advent calendar at Michael’s for $1 each. They love it, and they’re very good about waiting until after dinner for their “prize.” It’s really helping William with his counting skills. He can count to 3, but after that it gets a bit garbled. Of course, he’s only 2, so maybe I’m being pushy. 🙂 I am going to make them an advent calendar in the next couple of years (probably one each). I made one out of felt for my sister when she was 3, and she still puts it up 36 years later. We may investigate the PlayMobil ones in a few years, too. Our nephews had them for years and loved them.

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