Holiday Traditions. Whether you bake, host a family gathering, attend a festival or church service, decorate, cut down a tree, ice skate, craft, go to the movies on Christmas Eve, create gingerbread houses, host a gift exchange or open house, volunteer in the community, take a hike on Christmas Day – big or small, traditions are wonderful moments we’ve created, celebrations that bring us joy, to revisit year after year.
For as long as I can remember, we have set up our Christmas Tree the day after Thanksgiving. We are holiday super-fans who want to enjoy the beauty of the holidays for as long as possible. This year we decided to set up the week BEFORE Thanksgiving, and why not? A Christmas decor junkie, it literally takes 2 days to set up our home for the holidays – the hubby and kids think this is how everyone does Christmas, we don’t need to tell them I’m a little over the top! With the tree already in place, I was able to really enjoy the long weekend which included a big pot of turkey chili and holiday movies. Come Sunday night, we strolled into town to watch the annual Parade of Lights, a tradition we’ve had with our dear friends who haven driven down each year to watch the parade since our now teens, were in strollers. As we head into December I am looking forward to my ladies luncheons, holiday boutiques, our Family Gingerbread House Building/Christmas Movie Night, get togethers with relatives, holiday concerts, and volunteering to bring joy to those in need. Come the last day of school/finals, we’ll do our annual dinner out/driving around in the car looking for the best Christmas light display. And once again, come Christmas morning, we will attempt to make Monkey Bread. Side Note, if you have a good Monkey Bread recipe will you please share your secret in the comments down below? We have yet to perfect the concoction, but failing is part of the fun. Some day we’ll get it right they all say…
On Creating New Traditions
Some of the best traditions are not planned. Last year, right before Christmas Break, my son caught a nasty cold. Poor kid, who likes to be sick the last week of school? No one in Junior High or High School these days – there is way to much work to make-up. Needless to say, he was a not a happy camper. With his fever gone mid-week, it was time to get back to school. Still not 100%, he jumped in the shower to psych himself up for the day ahead. As he came out for breakfast I surprised him by saying, “Let’s go to McDonalds for breakfast”. I wish I could have packaged the look in his eye up forever. I have never seen my son get to the car so quick. And off we were, I in my pajamas with Christmas tunes blasting from the radio straight thru McDonalds drive thru. As he scarfed his syrupy pancakes and hash brown on the drive to school, the simple smile and “Thanks Mom” was the best gift I could ask for. My sick little guy, now had a kick in his step to get him through the day. Next year, sick or not, I can tell you this will our little Christmas tradition…for as long as he’ll ride along.
Plan Something That Brings You Joy
Back in my retail days, when I was a store manager for Nordstom Inc., I spent everyday of the holiday season spreading joy and cheer to my employees and customers 24/7. I’m certainly not complaining, after all I got to spend my days in the most beautifully decorated department store, complete with a Santa and piano, where everyday was a party! But at the end of the day, I was totally wiped out and to be honest, a bit ba-humbug. My fellow store manager pal Suzy and I got together and decided we could enjoy the holidays just as much as everyone else. With a little planning, we too could have some girlfriend time and enjoy the magic of the holiday season outside our busy stores. That day marked the beginning of a 16 year tradition of holiday cookie parties. These parties have changed over the years from eveining cocktail type celebrations to morning coffee come-as-you-are events. But at the end of the day, what matters is shaing some laughter, friendship, holiday spirit and perhaps a few holiday treats with friends!
This year, I made a promise to myself, to not get so busy as to miss the things that bring me joy during the holidays. Ordinary things like family movie night, a cozy night by the fire, lighting candles, eating meals together, a warm cup of tea, or binge watching TV when the weather outside is crummy (or not). A season of more being, less doing. Slow down, be present. That’s the plan…
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What holiday traditions do you look forward to each year? How do you make time, during a busy season to step back and take it all in? Why not share by dropping a note in the comments down below?
I promise lots of fun and cheer for you here in the next month on AskSuzanneBell.com. Thanks for joining the party and here’s to a wonderful holiday season Friends!