Category Archives: christmas

Wrapping Up the Holidaze: Traditions Part 2

Happy New Year, Peeps.

This new year presented itself as the first in my memory where I did not make it until midnight. Never a good sleeper, I have made it to midnight to ring in the new year every year since childhood. But the efforts in nursing a baby and raising a toddler led to a TKO this NYE, for me and my spouse. Kids:1 Parents:0.

I promised a follow up on traditions, and so I’d like to share the two that my young family have created.

The first started at my oldest’s first Christmas. I am not big on giving people gifts “just because.” And by this I mean, “I want to give you a gift because I love you but I don’t have a ton of cash so here is a scented candle.” Nobody needs another scented candle.

I also wanted these gifts to be a meaningful representation of love, and Christmas. I wanted them to be from my child.

Now, each year, my child-and now children-give a donation to an organization that represents their current interests. These gifts are “In honor of” and the response from family and friends has been extremely positive! This year, the girls are into Cinderella. I translated this into a donation to the “Make a Wish Foundation.”

Do the kids get it? I’d love to say “Oh, yes!” Honestly? Ummm, not yet. My 2 1/2 year old did understand the part of making a dream come true. (It’s Bibbity Boppity Booo, Mamma!) But they WILL, and when they are old enough, they will each choose their own organization, and, hopefully, their own funds (someday) to this yearly tradition.

The second is a new take on “The Feast of the Seven Fishes.” I’m Italian, and on Christmas Eve, I grew up sitting down to a grand feast of seven fish dishes.

Two generations later, my family has become the host to less-than-enthusiastic seafood eaters on Christmas Eve. What to do? Switch it up! It is now our tradition to improvise with “fish inspired” cuisine in addition to two actual seafood dishes. This year, we had Goldfish Crackers, Phish Food Ice Cream, and fish shaped chocolate amongst our edibles. Next year? Who knows!

I’ll be back soon to say what’s up to 2014.

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Traditions! Part One: Take Back the ‘Daze

I enjoy jumping on holiday blogging bandwagons. With that in mind, I can’t help but talk about creating family traditions.

Growing up and becoming an adult always requires some juggling of holiday traditions. Older relatives pass on, family moves closer or further away, and opportunities to either “own” a holiday, or finally duck out of a painful yearly shit-show, present themselves.

Throw significant others, spouses, and kids into the blender, and one yearly tradition is established hard and fast: guilt.

Someone is always upset about being left out. Someone else feels they couldn’t or didn’t provide the right present, or amount of gifts. Someone else feels they can’t leave a certain relative alone.

I spent several holiday seasons on the guilt tradition bandwagon. I’d put 500 miles on my car trying to meet each obligation between Halloween and New Years Eve.

Then, after a particularly disastrous holiday, I woke up and decided I was getting off the guilt train. Holidays are supposed to be fun.

I have a higher than normal threshold for tolerating discord, and I spent a whole year of holidays pissing people off-including people (well, person) I live with by saying “no”- and being surprised by people who were ok with “no.”

The hard work has largely paid off. Guilt is no longer a part of my holiday traditions.

Part two coming soon!

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Exploring a Seasonal Expectation

Motherhood brings with it many shoulds.
Today’s should-a Christmas Craft. Namely, salt dough ornaments.

Confession: I HATE crafting. It is so…messy. It involves STUFF that I have to specifically purchase for said craft. I like to read. And write. And take walks. I don’t do hobbies that involve “STUFF.”

But my daughter, she loves herself a craft.

Besides, somewhere in the middle class mother by-laws there is a rule that I need to craft. It runs rampant in our collective unconscious.

While crafting, I almost blew a blood vessel. After successfully working as a team to mix the dough, my daughter decided that she wanted me to make “eggs” with the dough and she freaked out every time I rolled it out to make an ornament. I tried to be a zen crafty mom-“Here sweetie, press the shape!” But soon was almost yelling at her to follow the steps.

Shouldn’t this be fun? I mean, we are trying to cookie cutter ourselves some heirlooms here.

We finally agreed to disagree. I made stars, and she concocted an elaborate story of an egg family.

After wrangling some dough from the egg family, I have some ornaments that could be destroyed by said daughter, or the cat, or any number of messy catastrophes that occur regularly in a home with two children under 3 and two sleep deprived adults.

I am also stuck with a giant bucket of cookie cutters.

Then again, at Christmas, you should make cookies…