If you believe the songs on the radio, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.” And while I truly do enjoy the season, it comes with its share of stress.
I am a planner. I appreciate a well-made list and feel like an organized life is to be embraced. Let’s face it, things just go better when there is a plan. Christmas is no exception. There are lists for cards and lists for gifts and lists with the details of the many celebrations.
Traditions are not just comforting because they remind us of seasons past; they are comforting because they provide a routine and a plan for the significant moments of our life. They help us know what to expect.
This is a time for traditions. Putting the star on top of the tree with your dad, opening a new pair of pajamas and wearing them while reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas” on the hearth, and snacking on your grandma’s party mix are hallmarks of the season. It wouldn’t be Christmas without them.
But it would.
Traditions are important. They provide a structure for our celebrations and our memories. They are the stories we tell and the things we look forward to each year. But traditions change.
Children grow up. People move. Extended families get bigger. These are good things, and we should enjoy them.
Embracing change is as important as valuing traditions. Every holiday, every day is a gift. We have to find the flexibility to enjoy them all. In fact, when I really think about it, most of my best memories were things that happened spontaneously or when the plans I made went horribly wrong.
Last weekend I had breakfast with some of my roommates from college. We were reminiscing about some of the holiday fun we had. There was the time I decided to try baking a pumpkin pie from a real pumpkin (not a good idea people- use the canned pumpkin). There was the message on our answering machine sung to tune of “Let It Snow”. And then there was our trip to see Santa at the mall. We spent hours getting ready, put curling ribbon in our hair, and took a million pictures. None of those things were planned. None of those things were traditions.
The year I dropped the pumpkin pie on the kitchen floor was awesome. The year of the blizzard when we spent Christmas Eve alone at home was intimate and exceptional. Every Christmas has been special, and this one will be too.
It should always be the most wonderful time of the year. We should create traditions with our children, but we should also teach them to embrace change, to enjoy the spontaneous moments, and to laugh when things go wrong.
My wish for you is a week full of love and laughter, time with family and friends, and a focus on the real reason for the season!