I've been enjoying Christmas in an extra magical way this year. I think it's because we got to decorate our house for the very first time AND we splurged for an 8 and a half foot Christmas tree. In all the fun and decorating, I wonder what it will look like when there's kids in the mix. I think about kids a lot lately. Not out of pressure, but out of anticipation. Out of: how will I do it? What will they look like? How many will there be? What will make up their favorite memories?
There are a lot of things I don't know about how our parenting will look and feel. In fact, I don't know just about everything short of I will be a mom and Jason a dad. But, one thing I do know we both hold dear from our own childhoods and want to instill in our children is the love of tradition and celebration. The traditions that have been passed down to me, the one's we've started as Team Thomas, and the one's I can't wait to share with our offspring.
The other day I ran across this anti-holiday post from Kirsten Howerton (who I almost always love and laugh with). I tried to be open minded about her feelings and acknowledge the pressure of keeping up with the Pinterest moms while breaking out of the consumer cycle. But I couldn't help wondering what it feels like to wish to skip out on ridiculous celebration (says the girl who celebrated her birthday for a month).
Being 25, I grew up pre-Pinterest, before the blogosphere, when marketing to consumers was still in its baby stages. Yes, nowadays there's a madness to all the holidays and subsequent celebratory expectations, but you, as the adult and parent, are responsible for discussing and explaining why you're partaking in the celebration -or, oppositely, why you aren't.
I'm a celebratory being. My spirit loves dressing in whatever colors the day or season beg (all of which I already have in my closet), toasting to the festivities, and cheering "Hip Hip Hooray I LOVE This Day!" as off key as manageable from the very bottom of my itty, bitty lungs.
I was raised in a home where cake was cherish deeply and consumed often. As a family we marked special occasions with dinners and desserts, wine and Shirley Temples, later bedtimes and special table settings. And I want the same for my kids. I imagine the days of celebratory education already. Days where I can say: we're doing this because it's a special day. This day is special because of these very reasons and because you are special to me I want to share in it together.
For Valentine's we will celebrate love. The love of God, of our family, that fills our home. We will share the ways in which we love ourselves and one another. Our hearts will be felt, celebrated, understood as beating by His goodness. We will commune around a candlelit table covered in breakfast food because that's just what happens on Valentine's Day says my childhood.
On March 17th, St. Patrick's Day, we will wear green, drink bubbly beverages (beer for the big people, cider for the little), talk about how Grandpa Peter loved this day so. We will appreciate the beautiful prayers of St. Patrick, enjoy (or not) corned beef and cabbage, talk about green things, lucky charms, what we'd do with a pot of gold coins.
The Fourth of July will always contain a plethora of red, white, and blue. It'll be full of all things stars and stripes, watermelon, and grilled hamburgers. We'll snuggle up in a light blanket atop the hill above my mom's home and watch the fireworks bang and boom while we oooh and aaah all the while singing along to "America the Beautiful" and "God Bless America".
December, oh my dear month of Advent, will be a month of celebration and anticipation of Christ's birthday. It'll be wrought with family, cake, festive decor, an Elf making trouble throughout our house. We will spend time laughing deeply, sharing wholly, celebrating honestly. Through the art of celebration, we can talk about the significance of the season, the meaning -spiritual and emotional- behind traditions, share our hopes and dreams and thanks.
Notice, those celebrations don't require gifts. Many of ours didn't. In fact, they didn't require anything but a smile on your face and a stomach hungry for cake. Just as my parents taught me, it isn't anyone else's responsibility to teach my children how or when to celebrate. It is mine. As their parent, as their teacher of life and home and family, as a lover of celebration, I want them to know what it means to partake in the jubilee.
So, excuse me as I finish pinning leprechaun traps and Elf on the Shelf ideas while I text my brother about that one time we touched the Elf and our baby brother thought we'd frozen his wings forever.
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What are your favorite traditions for the holidays?
(you are not limited to Christmas, of course)
(you are not limited to Christmas, of course)