Deck the halls with bells and holly, but make sure […]
Deck the halls with bells and holly, but make sure you eat your turkey, finish your pumpkin pie and give a whole lotta thanks first. Did your mama demand a clean dinner plate before she served dessert? Mine did. (I had to drink my 2 percent milk, too.) And all the hoopla about celebrating Thanksgiving before Christmas kinda reminds me of my childhood dinner. Would it be so terrible to have a cookie with my tuna casserole? What about listening to Christmas music while carving the Thanksgiving turkey?
Celebrating Christmas right after Labor Day is like having dessert for breakfast: It’s nice in theory, sure, but you lose the joy of anticipation. Still, we need time to truly ‘tis the season (trim the tree, wrap the gifts, host the parties). Maybe we begin celebrating mid-November?
Can I guess what you’re thinking right now? Something like: This sugar-loving gal has a serious crush on Christmas. You’re right, I do. I’ve always liked cupcakes and Christmas (sounds like a blog title), but I’ve never sat down and penned my thoughts about the fine balance between anticipating and celebrating the holiday. So what’s changed? I became a mama, and I’m excited to create and share holiday traditions with my baby boy.
Christmas in Arizona doesn’t come with snow or cold, so traditions take on extra weight. It’s only going to feel like Christmas if you hang the lights and sing the songs and bake the cookies. My sweet mother went all out: She wrapped holly and tinsel around the staircase, hung stockings from the mantel, and made sure the cookie jar toppled with red and white treats. I look back on everything she did, and all the details remind me how much I’m loved. Now, I want to do the same thing for my son.
As a new mama, I get to pick and choose the holiday events that will become traditions for my babe. I’m wrapping presents and decorating the house and wondering whether or not various activities hold enough weight to become woven into our family history.
An example? We took Max to see a castle decorated for the holidays this weekend, and I filled his nursery with snowflakes and twinkling-lights when we got home. The castle was fun to visit, but might be replaced with visiting a Christmas tree farm or a holiday craft fair next year. Transforming the nursery into a winter wonderland, however, is definitely a repeat item: My babe’s eyes lit-up like magic when he saw his room sparkle and glow.
I’ve got a couple other activities to test as well: baking peppermint macaroons for Saint Nick’s (December 6th), taking goofy photos for our holiday card, and spending one December night camping under our sparkling tree. Will the activities be special enough to become tradition? TBD.
Is there a saying about how you don’t just marry the man, you marry his family traditions? Or you don’t just marry the girl, but you marry everything her mama taught her about Christmas? Maybe not, but I find it’s absolutely true: Jon and I started incorporating the best bits of our childhood traditions immediately after saying, “I do.” Our family continues Jon’s childhood tradition of watching It’s A Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve, and we bake and share cookies like I’ve been doing since ’92.
I want to share holiday traditions from my family, Jon wants to pass on Christmas traditions from his, and we also want to create our own pastimes. It’s not important which ones we make our own, but it does matter that we find ways of celebrating that anchor and bond our family. I want my littles (plural ‘cause I’m thinking to the future) to grow up feeling rooted in traditions that remind them of home even as they grow up, move away, and/or start their own families.
Does that mean we start decorating before the other families? Get excited about Christmas before sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner? Maybe. My kids might remember, “Mom always wrapped every present before December,” but, with any luck, they see all the anticipation and celebration as a reminder of how much I love them.