This has been a very odd Christmas for me. My daughter got married in June, so this was the first year of “sharing” the season with my new son-in-law’s family. When the newlyweds asked if we would mind having an early Christmas this year, my husband and I assured them that we would be willing to adapt to whatever they wanted to do. We were determined to be good in-laws. Besides, our family is always looking for new things to do – so celebrating Christmas the week before Christmas sounded like a good plan . . . well, at least when we made that decision . . . back in July.
We had our early Christmas, and it was wonderful! Family, food, presents, music – the whole nine yards. Then, a couple of days later, my daughter and her husband left for Georgia, where they would spend the rest of the holiday with the other side of the family. Christmas 2010 was over . . . for us, but not for the rest of the world. This became very apparent when talking with friends, watching television, and walking through the grocery store. The excitement was all around us, and it was . . . depressing.
I thought I came up with the perfect solution. If being surrounded by Christmas only reminded me of what I missed this year, then I should put Christmas away. So on Wednesday morning, December 22, I packed it up. That’s right – the decorations, the music, even the tree – wrapped, boxed, and stored back up in the attic. I felt even worse.
It wasn’t until two days later – on Christmas Eve – that I had an epiphany. I began to realize that traditions, celebrations, and the sacredness of certain days are extremely important, but I also understood that circumstances change, and life experiences sometimes take you in new directions. I had a choice to make: To mourn what is in the past and be stagnated by the loss of what is familiar, or to embrace the life change as an opportunity to intentionally plan and initiate new traditions.
I came to the conclusion that there is sacredness in family tradition, but it’s not the specifics of the tradition that are sacred – it’s the value of the time and effort the family members are willing to invest.
So we’re embracing the life change. We’re experimenting with new traditions. And we’ve decided that Christmas 2011 will be a great opportunity to try some new things!