Make Your Own Traditions

25 Dec

One of my happiest Christmas memories is one in which I can literarily feel myself back into the situation. I was in fifth or sixth grade and my dad and I were in Wisconsin visiting his parents. Our dog, Boomer, half German Shepherd and half Old English Sheepdog had flown with us and we’d had many days of excitement leading up until Christmas. My dad had taken me ice skating on Lake Mendota and I’d been given skates of my own (white boots vs. the ugly brown you get when you rent), my grandma and I had baked cookies and we’d done loads of shopping along State street, the heart of the capitol and University.

But now it was post- Christmas morning hype and instead of the let down I was familiar with feeling over the years, I had an increased sense of peace. Specifically, someone had given me “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte and I remember snuggling up on the couch reading it – Boomer on the floor next to me, my dad watching football, my grandmother knitting and watching football and my grandfather alternating between reading, snoozing and watching football. And I felt so content. I think my dad and I had gone running that morning too in the freezing cold which added to the zoned out euphoria. 

That is the feeling I try to recapture every year and I feel so grateful and blessed that in the last number of years, I have had my moments of REST. Domesticity. And family during the holidays. But it has required me to actively make conscious decisions how I spend the holidays. And it has required me to make my own traditions as the Honda commercial says. 

You see over the years, as a single person with parents deceased and relatives scattered over the states, I have had to create what Christmas looks like in my home. I get many invites places and that is AWESOME but I quickly discovered that if I said yes to all of them, I would have none of that snuggle up and stay at home feeling that I had in the scene described above. So, I balance my time with attending my invites to connect with community but then also honor my time with my own family – which as dumb as it sounds – two cats and me is family. Is my home. And it is blessed.

Yesterday after surfing with my neighbor, I enjoyed just putzing with the cats until time to be with people again in the evening. And I’m so grateful that I realize one isn’t the loneliest number. It’s simply that. A number. Neither good nor bad. All of us, young and old, single or coupled get the most out of the holiday when we make our own traditions and truly embrace them.

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