I'm sitting here at my desk being terribly impressed by the fact that my feet are dry.  Why is that, you ask?  Well, because we are being inundated with torrential rains and high winds.  My pants are wet and my coat and mittens are wet but my toes remain dry.  This is thanks to the wool socks I am wearing and my danskos which have 2 inch thick soles to keep my feet out of the puddles.  In about 20 minutes I am walking down the block to eat breakfast compliments of Pennsylvania Hospital.  They give all their employees a meal at the holidays.  I usually go to breakfast since that's my favorite meal of the day.

I know that there are lots of ways to feel about the upcoming holidays.  I seem to read a lot of posts in which people are bemoaning that we have holidays. I understand this.  This has been a tough year for me.  I lost a cousin, an uncle and my mother.  My daughter had a major surgery.  It feels like there was very little quiet time for a while there.  I am looking forward to this holiday as a way to celebrate that we made it through the stress and are still in one piece. 

We have traditions (which seem to revolve around food) that are comforting.  I didn't grow up with these. Pk and I made them ourselves.  Some became traditions because the kids decided they liked them and some because they just made us happy.  Decorating the tree on Christmas Eve started out as a way to extend the surprise and the Wow factor.  It was so very cool to see the girls' faces when they first saw the tree with the presents under it.  When they went to bed, the tree was bare.  When they woke up, it was lit up and shiny.  It's a memory of late nights trying to be quiet as we wrestled with lights and ornaments as they slept on.  When they got older, they joined in the fun and now it's a family activity that no one misses.  I know that when they have children, this will change but for now, I'm enjoying it.

And our Christmas book.  1981 was our first Christmas together.  We bought a book and started recording our holidays.  It's filled with funny rememberances and special guests and presents and fun times.  There are blurbs about what was happening in the world and in our family.  The time the car died on the 24th, and the year we ALL had the flu, and the year each girl was born and the year......You get the picture.  It's the thing we all look for as the decorations come out (it gets put away with the christmas stuff).  Someone reads parts of it aloud and we laugh at ourselves.  We are a strange lot.  Pk and i bought one for Em when she moved out and now it's time to get one for Kate.  It's important to remember these things.  They can bring such joy (and in my case sentimental tears).

Is there something that you cannot do without during the holidays? 


amy said…
The live tree. Every year as a child I begged for one, and we rarely had one. I know we had them when I was very very young, but that was something my parents had gotten over by the time I got older. (I'm the third kid. They'd gotten over a lot by the time I came along, I think.) Once or twice they gave in and got a live one, but it was so obvious that they hated it. My father hated going to buy it. My mother hated vacuuming up the needles. So instead we had the icky fake one instead of the live, fragrant tree. I need it. It's such a visceral connection to the solstice rituals, and living where we do, I need that connection, that reminder of life in the darkest time of year. It is good to be the adult, isn't it? Nobody is going to roll their eyes and complain about vacuuming up pine needles. Thank goodness.

I know what you mean, about bemoaning. Holidays aren't any different from the rest of life. It's all what you make of it.
amy said…
PS MY feet got soaked. Bus was super late, drove kids in, it was only raining here so I just put on regular shoes. Well. Two inches of slush at school, which is 15 minutes away and north of the rain/snow line. Good to know. My feet are cold.
Roxie said…
Dry feet are essential to a comfortablr day at work! Hooray for Danskos!

I'm like Amy - gotta have that tree. I like to get it the day after Thanksgiving, but this year we won't get it till we get home. Then I spend hours decorating the house and tree, and the next morning, before work, I turn out all the regular lights and sit quietly in the dark with a cup of tea and the Christmas lights. I think DH likes having the house decorated, too, but mostly he likes how happy it makes me.
Sheepish Annie said…
Hmmm...I think it's the break. I always get time off for Christmas and I love having that time to bake, wrap or be with family. Or do nothing at all once the holiday is over and it's quiet again. I kind of like that part a lot! :)
Bells said…
that image of the hushed decorating of the tree while the girls were asleep is so lovely, so precious. I love it.

Someone said to me recently, 'children make christmas' and that hurts. I am aware that this is probably true and I have cried knowing that once again we are facing a christmas where our little lost ones are not here. But I am spending Christmas with my nephew and a new niece and so it is not childless. I'm focusing on that.

Other than that, i really have nothing about christmas that I must have or do. I just make it up as I go along.
Rose Red said…
So far, husby and I have not really made our own traditions - we still do Christmas with our parents, which means we do what we did as kids. For me, at my mum's, it's always about food and heaps of it. Husby's family doesn't seem to do the same thing each year, which I find quite confusing. But the MIL does make an EXCELLENT Christmas pudding, which I love. I can't wait to start traditions with my family.
Kate said…
I absolutely have to have a live tree. And you know what else? The Christmas book. All those memories and feelings recorded for me to remember in years to come, it's a wonderful reminder of why Christmas is my favorite family holiday.
Bezzie said…
I love that book! What a clever idea. The only thing that sucks--and not to sound morbid--but what kid gets custody of it when you and PK pass away? Ha ha!

We have to burn one of those Yankee Candles that is called "Home For the Holidays." Last year when I knew this Christmas was going to be tight--I bought a REALLY big one and we made sure to burn only half of it so we'd be sure to have one this Christmas!
Galad said…
We've pared down our traditions over the years and kept what was most special to each of us. I did give up the live tree for a couple of years but will probably go back when our grandson is a little older.

Christmas Eve is hot and sour soup and homemade egg rolls. Christmas dinner has to be an Amana ham for Nicole.

We also make decorated sugar cookies and Christmas browns(a spice cookie with mincemeat)

Nicole and I watch every Christmas movie we own while baking and then go out and spend hours looking at lights.

She'll be here on the 18th and I can't wait!

Thanks for sharing your family traditions.
kms said…
i love the sound of your traditions, esp the book and the decorating. being a godless lot, we have none really. i am making up a few news this year. i like the seinfeld idea of festivus myself!
Jejune said…
I love the sound of your family traditions, especially the secretly decorated tree - that's lovely.

I'm not able to do much this Christmas; cooking is my main focus, and I can't do much of that on crutches at the moment, and haven't done cards, or any preparations, or any parties, so I'm feeling very out of the Christmas spirit, and unable to plan or do anything much. Hopefully I'll be well enough to at least do a nice meal ...

Very glad you've got dry feet! The weather sounds vile.
Dianne said…
It sounds as though you have made Christmas a wonderful time for your family.
Louiz said…
What a lovely idea!

Also I can't comment on your post after this one, but my comments are sort of the same idea.

Family. Christmas isn't christmas without family. Huge family gatherings, seeing people you haven't seen since this time last year, new babies/partners/hairstyles... and also the immediate family thing on Christmas day itself.

Our tree goes up when we get around to it, which will probably be this weekend, if Himself is better enough, and it's a plastic one we use every year.

I don't love the commercialisation around Christmas, but I do love the parties/family/food/holiday.. and yes, the presents!
Jeanne said…
Your Christmas book sounds wonderful - I wish I had done that.

We put up our tree after the kids birthdays early in December - never before their birthdays. I hand out ornaments and they put them up. They all have certain ornaments that only they can put up - and since my son is at college, his get put aside so he can put them up when he gets home.

I love Christmas - but a couple of years ago, we refocused it and stopped the out of control presents and all that. Now we each buy each other two gifts, and everyone donates money to a charity of their choice. Feels a lot better than the craziness that can happen this time of year.

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