Full circle~Holiday Traditions Exchange 2010

Last year at this time we were shuttling ourselves and the girls between our nest and our new house. We had been doing this for several months but only as of November 12 could we say “our house”. Prior to that it was “our hopeful house” as we are not ones to tempt fate and the ride to dropping the “hopeful” was anything but. I had been looking forward to the Holiday Traditions Exchange for a long time prior to this, as I was seeking any type of tethering to the real world that I could put my hands on.
School starts. Check
Halloween. Check
Rain and leaves changing color. Check
Everything else at this point had become a blur, unknown to me and very clearly uncontrolled by me or anyone else I knew. We were trying our best to hang onto what felt like a magic carpet ride, sans magic, or at least sans a good driver. The view of real life below was only sometimes clear and even then very fleeting.
November came and with it our ream of paper, signed, sealed and delivered, telling us the house was ours. Now what? Well, now we get to the real work. Cut, paste, hammer, paint, repeat. Oh, and spending money. But that goes without saying.
Through it all I am reading along in blog land~recipes, art, craft projects, home improvement ideas all saved for the day when they might be able to come alive, in a home. Our home.
So it was for the Holiday Traditions Exchange. I waited for it, and with nary a thought to the fact that all of our worldly possessions were tucked away in a storage POD far, far away, I signed up. I had participated the year before and hoped that my follow through then would propel me into the same mode again, despite our circumstances.
Suffice to say, I should not have signed up. I sent, at the very lastest of minutes, the most ridiculous felted sweater trees to a very kind and understanding family in Wisconsin and they sent me the most amazing advent calendar.

I have blogged before about what transpired there, in the days and weeks following my ill conceived attempt at Holiday Traditions and where they can lead to, despite being ill prepared and seemingly not at all worthy in the craft department. And now we are full circle. I have just returned from a week long visit with “Owl Mary Jo” and am now looking VERY much forward to our first holiday season in our home. And we have decided to spend this time together at our home, not venturing farther than the grocery store. Buying and setting up a tree. Hanging lights. What else is there to do?
I am really and truly stumped by this, as we have been shuttling ourselves to Oregon for nearly 10 years and now we’ve added Wisconsin to the list. We’ve never opened gifts at the home where we live. Never had a holiday tradition which wasn’t part of the fabric of our traveling and quite possibly created as a condition of it.

Now I am your hostess for the exchange. I am full of a mix of emotions over this. If it weren’t for the lovely and talented Meg and her lovely blog, Sew Liberated, we never would have driven down snowy cold roads to share egg nog and stories by candlelight with strangers. And this year, a similar touch of randomness has visited itself upon Meg and her family,  leading her to pass me the reins for the exchange this year. Despite all of this, and also because of it, we will march forward with the joy in one hand and the spirit of health and well being in the other and share them with abandon~and a touch of random.

Before you head over there to sign up, covered in glitter and glue and string, if you would please take a moment to share with us, in the comments,  a tradition that you and your family partake in~we are seeking any and all ideas! Our old holiday notes on what to pack for whom and how to fly cross country and arrive smiling with two kids in tow have been scuttled (for now) and we start anew~and with a fairly blank notebook! Please help me fill it up and then waste no time in getting over to the sign up page.
I’ll be waiting here to hear from all of you~hot cocoa in one hand and a candle for peace and good health in the other. Maybe we are on our way to some new traditions after all. Won’t you please join us?

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7 thoughts on “Full circle~Holiday Traditions Exchange 2010

  1. one of our most favorite traditions around holiday time are night walks. the kids absolutely ADORE getting bundled up (umm, we are in the bay area so there isn’t too much bundling needed) and heading out with flashlights at night to look at our neighbors lights, the moon and stars, and whatever surprises happen along our way. it can be joyous and reflective all at the same time and certainly inspires lots of memories to be made!
    good luck and i look forward to reading about others’ traditions.

  2. We always travelled between our original “home” in upstate NY and our transplanted actual home in GA, it was a ton of work for my parents but as kids we loved having the old and the new blend together. One tradition that we had no matter where we were celebrating was to get to open one gift on Christmas eve, usually something small (often new PJ’s) and it helped ease the “Christmas is almost here” energy. Hope your family has a wonderful year of holidays in your new home!

  3. A family tradition of ours, one of our only ones, is a mixture of traditions from both my mother’s and father’s families. Each year my sister and I are allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve. That present is always our ornament for the year. The Ornament always reflects something from our lives; a place we visited, a hobby, an interest, ect. In all truthfullness, that present is probably the one we look forward to the most because it has the most meaning.

  4. My family each recieves a new pair of jammies to get all snuggly in Christmas Eve night and then gets to open one small gift.

    After that the cookies and milk get put out for Santa…and then sleepy little ones are put to bed dreaming of what tomorrow will bring.

  5. Our favorite family tradition is Cookie Day! The day after Thanksgiving we gather to make Specaltius, a lovely German Christmas cookie using the old family recipe in preparation for St. Nicholas day on December 6. The whole house smells like cinnamon and spices as nieces and nephews run around covered in flour and smiles. Love that day!
    Thanks so much for taking over the Holiday Exchange. i can’t wait to take part again this year. So exciting!

  6. We do an Advent wreath each year. When we light the candles, we read some of the account of Jesus’ birth from the Bible and sing a carol. When we decorate the tree, we put on “White Christmas” (plus other Christmas movies) and drink hot chocolate. We, too, get new PJ’s on Christmas Eve. I try to make them from matching/coordinating fabric. We have quit traveling or even “getting together” with extended family on Christmas morning to have that special time on our own. We only have one child so it’s quiet and cozy. We each get three gifts – something you want, something you need, and something to share. On Christmas morning, we have cinnamon rolls (which I put together the night before) and hot chocolate. Later in the day, we have a cake and sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus. All this really gets the focus off of getting and puts it back on giving and the reason for Christmas in the first place – celebrating the birth of Christ.

  7. This is wonderful. We are new family and are thinking of ways to celebrate with new tradition. I have been thinking about it more lately. One of the Winter tradition that I grow up with is to make “tang yuan” glutinous rice dumplings on Winter Solstice. Here is a link about the festival and recipe: http://mandarin.about.com/od/chineseculture/r/tangyuanrecipe.htm

    I am looking forward to make tang yuan with my baby girl who will be 18 months old this Dec. This will become our yearly tradition for Winter.

    I love the idea of reflective ornament for the year and walking in the night. Thank you.

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