Sunday, December 18, 2016

Christmas Memories

Over the years, my attitude towards Christmas has changed quite a bit. Growing up, it was always such an exciting time with days of fun and looking forward to opening gifts and being with family.  As time has gone on, I feel a little cautious and anxious. I'm constantly reminded of how little control we have over our own mortality and those we care about.  The week of Christmas has been a hard week for my family over the years, I have lost an aunt, a grandmother, and my father all in week surrounding Christmas over three separate years.  Their passing was incredibly hard and still is at times. My dad passed away unexpectedly 6 years ago and not a day goes by that I don't think of him and talk to him in my head.  I would give anything to just talk with him and tell him about how we have all been doing... the good and bad.  This year I told my husband I was having trouble feeling in the spirit, I think the state of my country from the recent election was a big contributor but so was the continuous increase of commercialism and selfishness.

This last week I finally started to get into the holiday season.  I started focusing on the memories and traditions that are meaningful to me.  I do not care if I receive a single present for Christmas. What I do care about is being able to do things with my own family that are important to me at Christmas to carry on traditions and create new memories as well.

Cookie Baking - Baking cookies were so important growing up.  My mom and grandmother were excellent bakers and we always committed many hours to making cookies and candies for the holidays.  My girls and I spend at least a day each holiday season doing the same, with my mom if possible.  This year she came over and we made several things and I loved every minute of it.  I also love watching how independent my girls are now... reading directions, washing their own dishes...

Holiday Movies - Every year my dad would make us watch a movie on Christmas Eve but we also watched plenty of holiday movies throughout the season.  I remember watching National Lampoons Christmas Vacation together with him a couple of years before he passed.  It has always been a favorite and my family sat down with my mom and watched it together again this year.  We have also managed to check out Krampus (which is more of a Christmas Horror) and have several others on our list.

Christmas Dinner - Over the years Christmas dinner on my mom's side of the family was always hosted by my grandparents, my mom, or an aunt.  In the last few years I have taken over as the host of dinner for my family and some of my husband's family that is local.  We usually have a pretty big turnout.  While it is a lot of work, I love having people over to my house to celebrate the day and play games.  We typically do The White Elephant game which serves as a good hour of entertainment at least.

Holiday Giving - Something that my husband I have done since we became a couple is to make it a tradition to give to at least one charity or cause over the holiday season.  Over the years we have given to the Human Society, families we knew were in need, Angel trees, and the Goodwill. As time has gone on we have made our girls a part of these traditions and it is one of my favorite parts.  This year we are doing a couple of things and my girls decided to each give up a gift that would allow them to do extra giving.  I am so very proud of how selfless and loving they can be.

Holiday PJ's - I love seeing my girls in holiday pj's.  For the last several years I have bought them pj's that matched. This year I surprised them with my own matching pj's as well.  I love getting a cozy picture in front of the tree to commemorate the season.

Christmas Break - Growing up my mom always had the week off between Christmas and New Years from work that allowed us to go and do fun things.  We hit up the movies, hung out with friends and cousins, made NYE snacks, and enjoyed our new gifts. This year my husband and I are doing the same and hope to spend the week with the girls enjoying being at home and doing local things in our city.