changing traditions

I am soo awake! More awake than I have been all day! I am not impressed. It’s past midnight, the boys will be up in a handful of hours, and pregnancy insomnia with restless legs has swept in with shocking strength (my legs are actually twitching as I type here…bizarre). So, all those complaints stated, I’m up. Actually, if I were a bit nearer my due date, I’d be wondering about labour, it’s that kind of alert and breathy energy. But, I’m more than certain that it’s just me and this body and all the thrills of the holidays.

In (much better!) news, my husband is home!!! And asleep, bless his heart. He looked thoroughly exhausted when he stepped through the door tonight, but managed to stay up for a couple of hours by the fire. His sons are going to flip out with joy and wrestling and noise in the morning.

As J and I looked ahead at the next couple of days, he voiced an interest/request/preference towards moving our gift exchange away from Christmas Eve (the traditional time from both of our backgrounds, and definitely my preferred one). We both desire to move our family towards a more, and eventually thoroughly, ‘faith based’ (dare I say ‘religious’?) observance. As stated earlier, while we appreciate the giving of gifts (and have many sweet parcels waiting under the tree!) we don’t want it to detract from the celebration and mystery of the Story. His opinion is that when gifts are shared that evening (or the evening of The Day), the whole day is often one of “when are the presents?!?!” and everything else is pressed and distracted.

He suggested Christmas morning, which…I’m just not crazy about. We’ll already be sharing our simple stockings, taking time for a special breakfast, and as Christmas falls on a Sunday this year, we’ll also be participating in the service. For me, this just brings another kind of hurry and distraction.

Either way, I find it difficult to separate myself from my tradition, from what could be good for our own little family, and from thoughts and opportunities which may be unique to my own preferences. Hm.

What I suggested is moving our gifts to Winter Solstice; an idea we’ve often discussed and never fully realized. This year, as it falls on the 22nd (technically…today!) it’s tucked in right near the ‘official’ days of Christmas, while still giving room for total breath and reflection. Solstice celebrations are already beautiful in themselves and are rich with light and family and treats and sharing, and Winter Solstice was the starting point for any of our ‘Christmas’ traditions such as trees and wreaths and all kinds of beautiful expressions.

So…we’re going to try it out. We’re not sure if this is our new ‘family way’. We’ll assume that holidays spent with extended family will follow their original traditions, and that’s great. And…we’ll just see how it goes. I like the thought of it, right now past midnight in the day by the tree, and I’m sure the boys will be able to cope with opening their gifts two days early.

On Christmas Eve, we’ll do our traditional hors dourvs  supper, lots of readings, perhaps some games (with the three year old and one year old?), and maybe an enactment of The Story with the felted nativity set. In the morning, we’ll share stockings and breakfast, head to church, then prepare for our feast (with room at our table if we yet stumble on someone without a seat at another).

What are your plans these days?
Solstice? Eve? Day?
Anything new? Anything different?

4 Responses to “changing traditions”
  1. Delynne says:

    I like the Solstice idea for opening gifts. We’ve gone back and forth a few times on our own traditions and they’re still not entirely settled. Of course we have a few that never change! Last year we opened gifts on Dec. 5, celebrating “Sinterklaas” and paying homage to my Dutch roots. This year time got away from me so we didn’t, but I liked it a lot, precisely for that reason of separating the elements of the season. Advent, the waiting, the coming of the Christ – it all gets lost if you’re not intentional. Last year we still had the stockings on Christmas morning, since kids still need to be kids! 🙂

    Let us know how it was!

    • Dea' says:

      Hi! It.was.awesome. Such a great idea! We’ve considered Sinterklass as well– great idea! Being intentional in separating the gifts from the Days makes a lot of sense to us. (and we’re still keeping stockings for the Morning as well 🙂 ). Watching jem’s reaction, seeing his ‘humaness’ and selfishness this evening, workign through the hype, AND enjoying such an amazing evening of giving and receiving turned out to be so so wonderful. (more to chat on later and soon 🙂 )

  2. Carmen W says:

    I know this wasn’t the point of the post but I thought I’d mention it anyway. I had really bad restless legs during my first pregnancy and it started again during #2. It was suggested to me that it could be due to a lack of calcium and magnesium (more so magnesium) and by golly, it worked! I found that if I skipped a day or two of taking my supplements they would start getting restless again. Anyway it’s just a thought because I know how frustrating those jumpy legs can get.

    • Dea' says:

      Thanks! I’ve been pumping those two like mad! 🙂 With my first two, the supplements really helped. With this one, it makes it somewhat tolerable, but doesn’t really deal with it like the other times. At least I’m getting some morning sleep these days as my husband is home. That helps a ton!

      Have a great week! 🙂

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