Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Christmas traditions

I was part of a conversation the other day on Christmas traditions, and all I could think was "that just sounds like more work." Christmas for me is a time to unwind, hibernate by a fire, drink hot chocolate, cuddle in warm blankets with my family and curl up with books.  Then I felt a little sad because I thought "I wonder if we're missing out?"

But sometimes those knee-jerk reactions are just because we have such a narrow definition of something. Someone talks about home-cooked roast Sunday dinners and we think "how come I don't do that?" But if we pause, we might realize that Sunday dinners does happen - maybe it's not a roast, maybe it's grilled cheese and tomato soup, but it's still everyone together.

I don't do big decorations or fancy meals at Christmastime. We don't go for our own real tree or get photos done. But we do have some great things we like to do, and, not surprisingly, they aren't decorative but instead or artsy.

We always kick off with the Santa Claus parade, but lately that usually means marching in it. From soccer to our church to our school, we have participated in a few different floats over the years. Then, sometime between the 21st and 24th we join a live Nativity play as Shepherds or Roman soldiers or townspeople and bring the Christmas story to life for thousands of people in a neighbouring city.

Finally, squeezed between December 1 and December 24, we usually have a plethora of concerts. Yes, the most dominating tradition in our home is music, and I love that. This year we have 13 concerts in 3 weeks and I love it. Multiple choirs, a talent show, school concerts, community band, ukulele club, canatas - all of us are involved in multiple programs. This is where I realized our true family traditions are taking root. Music is a huge part of James' and my life, and while we have neglected the formal music training of our children, they have grown up seeing concerts, rehearsals and the like. I hope that they will always remember the message and beauty of the Christmas music in their young lives.

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