Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Traditions

We have always spent Christmas with extended family... scrambling to make the 530 mile trip north, then rushing from one gathering to the next. It was with a surprising sense of calm that I proposed our staying home this year & my husband readily acquiesced. My son was eager to stay home to enjoy his gifts Christmas Day so long as Santa would be able to find him.
I wondered over my impulsive declaration yet it felt right & good. The matriarchs of my family had modelled Christmas traditions for me over a lifetime & I soon realized the brunt of holiday tradition now fell on me... it was my turn to lead the way & pass them along. For the first time in my son's life, he didn't have to pack his gifts away once they were opened. We stretched our gift opening over the course of the day, frequently pausing for him to play. For the first time in over a decade, the Christ candle shone brightly on our advent wreath.

I wanted to show my son, "the other side of Christmas" & planned an outing to distribute warm apparel to people living on the streets. Once assured I planned to bake lasagna for our holiday meal, my brother delivered us a turkey before making his trek to MD. In his usual, generous manner he purchased the 3 of us an 18.6 pound bird! It hadn't completely thawed & took hours to long that it kept us from our outting. We couldn't go help the homeless because we had too much food! There will be other times, but the irony was not lost on me. As I worked, preparing favorite dishes from all sides of the family I felt keenly in tune with the women who had prepared these same dishes before me. It was a lovely, quiet & slow-paced day, full of cozy warmth & laughter. One in which I confidently accepted the Torch of family traditions & took my place among the women of our family.

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