When did our memories of warm, cozy holidays begin? If I close my eyes and concentrate on what the holidays looked like before I was carrying on and creating traditions of my own, this is what I see:
Snow, sleds, ski bibs
Numb noses, fingers, toes, and bums
Garland, twinkle lights, cranberries
A fire in the fireplace, smells of casseroles or pies baking
Uncles in Christmas sweaters, Aunts in fur coats, the smell of Nana’s perfume
Ribbon candy, bowls of mixed nuts in the shells
Late night wrapping in the basement on Christmas Eve
Dad in his Santa jammies, midnight mass
In the twenty years I spent celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family of origin in Massachusetts, I never really thought about what my Mom did to make all this happen. I don’t recall my Mom being particularly stressed out. Of course, as I got older I helped with different elements, but there are no check-lists, schedules, or meltdowns in my memories.
The perspective from where I sit now, in my grown-up Mom chair, is quite different. With Thanksgiving around the corner, I am sitting back and observing what makes the modern day holiday season. Of course, the decorations have been up in the retail stores for a couple weeks now. I couldn’t even buy a gourd the day before Halloween because they had already taken them away to make room for mechanical reindeer.
I don’t remember mechanical reindeer from my holidays past.
Many women have gift-buying deadlines they have set for themselves. I’m all about goals…and this one is to ensure they don’t have to deal with crowds and pressure in the month of December. Love it. As long as you’re not stressing yourself out to get it all done by turkey day. AND, as long as you’re not spending your December picking up “last minute gifts” or succumbing to impulse buys when you’re out and about. Because that just drains the wallet, adding stress that you wouldn’t have had if you were just buying things on your list that you had budgeted for.
I am the oldest of four children and we always had tons of presents under the tree on Christmas morning. But we didn’t have Xboxs and iPhones. We read books and crafted and built things and played outside. It’s different now.
So this is the thing. What if we just spent a few minutes and envisioned the scenes that make up our holiday memories. Might it allow us to relax in to it a bit more? Let’s think about what is really needed to create memories for our kids, and for us to look back at when our children are running the show.
My husband has Santa jammies (how about that?!). Cranberries and twinkle lights—easy. Cold appendages—Mother Nature has that covered for us. Fires, casseroles, cheesy sweaters…family, home, comfort.
Let’s not go overboard. Think about how you want your kids to remember you in their holiday memories. Start a new tradition, like maybe wearing reindeer ears whenever you’re prepping food. Or roasting marshmallows in the living room fireplace. Smile. Give big, long hugs. Take naps together. You’ll get done what needs to get done, and you’ll be making memories no matter what. Make them peaceful ones.