I have this weird Christmas tradition. Christmas trees and Christmas lights in general are one of my favourite aspects of Christmas, so each year on Christmas Eve, I sleep on the couch with the tree lights on. Of course, you must understand that I’m basically still a kid when it comes to Christmas so I use the term sleep loosely. I make my husband sleep on the couch too. Fortunately we have this huge comfortable couch, so we manage. Although I’m sure he finds me adorable, I don’t think its his favourite thing ever. This year he started a new tradition. We now have this huge basement bedroom with a fireplace. He told me all about how much he thought I would enjoy having a tree in our bedroom - just a small one with white lights, and I got so excited! I found the perfect cashmere pencil tree on a huge sale at Michael’s and it fits perfectly.
It wasn’t until a few days later that I realized he somehow managed to make it so he didn’t have to sleep on the couch on Christmas Eve…
We have a lot of new traditions this year. Or at least we’re trying to find our new rhythms. Last Christmas we had just moved and knew nothing about our city, weren’t sure on everything with our new church, and knew almost no one. So this year is the one that we’re trying to figure out what we want and what we can do without when it comes to traditions.
When things change in our lives, it seems that major holidays highlight those changes the most. And if you feel like change is bad, like I do, then it can be very hard on you when those changes are highlighted. So here are a few tips that I’m trying out this Christmas season.
#1 Remember the old traditions fondly. At first I tried to convince myself that everything here was better, or that the old traditions weren’t that great. But that’s not true. I love our kids’ school, but I’m really bummed out that we aren’t still homeschooling and can’t take the last week before Christmas really slow and spend tons of time at my moms. One of my favourite traditions was dropping everything and going over to watch a movie. Bonus points for corny Christmas movies! But at three hours away, that doesn’t happen anymore. And that’s sad. And its ok that its sad.
#2 Replace lost traditions. We had started going to a Santa Clause parade in our old town with some friends and I found out that I loved it. I always thought I would hate standing in the cold watching corny floats go by, especially when we’ve taught our kids that Santa isn’t real…but I suppose my love of corny Christmas movies should’ve tipped me off. This year we looked up Santa Clause parades here. It end up pouring rain, so we didn’t go, but we found something else that we loved and opened up the Christmas season that way. And I loved it too.
#3 Revel in what you have, not what you’re missing. Why do we as humans seem to always focus on what’s missing? Or is it just me? I felt myself getting caught up in thinking about all the things I’m missing back “home” instead of all the awesome things that are happening here. When you’re missing people or places or traditions, it can be easier said than done to focus on the good, but we all need reminding sometimes. While all those things can’t be replaced - and obviously we wouldn’t want to - other good things can come into our lives while we’re not even looking. So look. Maybe you need to look hard. But there’s good there.
Maybe you find yourself in a different place this Christmas, just like me. From something hard like moving away, to something as simple as the kids getting older, traditions are meant for making memories, not forcing us into something that doesn’t work anymore. Remember the fun!