Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Hanging ornaments on her Nanny's tree.
Inspecting the tree with Uncle Pat
Meeting her Great Grandma!

Because it wouldn't be Christmas unless a relative bought her a big pink wagon  :-$
We're going minimal on the gifts this year - Santa brought her a beanbag chair and a corn popper, Nanny and Grandpa supplied the train set.

 It's strange, transitioning from being on the receiving end of Christmas traditions to forming my own.  I have such amazing memories of Christmases as a kid - carols, nativity plays, lights, candles, the magic of expecting Santa, leaving out cookies and milk for the Big Man, the thrill of waking up to presents, and most of all, my family gathering, laughing, and eating delicious food.  We didn't do anything epic or special, there were no movie-worthy Hallmark moments to be captured, but it was my absolute favorite time of year, and I can't pinpoint exactly what made it so magical for me.

I haven't been particularly inspired to do much for Christmas in the last 10 years that I've lived on my own... there just didn't seem to be a point.  I know there is no Santa, I've moved away from religion, my family still gets together and cooks a lot, so why do I need to cultivate traditions of my own?

Having a daughter has changed that, though.  All I want is for her to come away with wonderful memories, and that same sense of peace, joy and magic that still comes over me at this time of year.  Childhood is so precious, and I want her to experience the best of it.  She's still too young to care this year... thank goodness.  I'm still figuring it out.  What meaning, exactly, do we want this season to have?  We do not celebrate the Christian traditions, we certainly don't want to make it all about materialism and shopping and receiving, the elf on the shelf thoroughly creeps me out, and I have a husband who, for various reasons of his own, isn't inclined to celebrate much at all.  What do we do, then? 

This year, I bought a tree and put a few sad decorations on it.  We played Christmas music on YouTube on the weekends while making breakfast.  I baked a ridiculous number of cookies and prepped a large Christmas breakfast for tomorrow morning.  We gathered at my parents' house for Christmas Eve - the same small family, even smaller and quite a bit older than I remember - to eat good food and lavish attention on Amaliya.  We visited with my only living grandparent, Amaliya's Great-Grandma, who I haven't seen in 15 years.  I set a few gifts under the tree, and look forward to her waking up tomorrow morning and seeing her new beanbag chair, which I know she'll love.  I will see my best friends tomorrow, and of course there will be laughter.  Maybe in the evening, we'll take a walk and look at the lights.

It's a start.

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