As the holidays approach, now is a good time to think about where you came from. And where you're going.
I'm not necessarily talking about which state you are from, but the family traditions that formed you.
We often think that holiday traditions should look like a Norman Rockwell painting:
We feel a bit disappointed that our own traditions are more like the Simpsons:
Or the Griswalds:
We get so excited about experiencing a storybook holiday that we forget some of the best traditions are ones we create along the way. Don't get me wrong: I'm a big believer in making the holidays special. I like wearing nice clothes and setting a beautiful table. Having delicious food and a decorated house.
But some of the fondest memories of the holidays are made in the celebration of family histories. Even the Homer Simpson histories.
And remember that you are creating a new histories for your own families.
The best traditions have nothing to do with money or presents or elaborate decorations. The memories I cherish the most are of laying under the Christmas tree with my children, looking up at the twinkling lights in the darkened room. Listening to Nat King Cole and Big Crosby. Eating popcorn in front of the fire. Making Christmas cutout cookies together. Going for walks at night. Reading Luke 2. Making Norwegian lefse.
In a tight economy, you might find yourself feeling bad about not providing the kind of holiday extravaganza you've been able to in the past. It's hard to see that as a blessing when you want to provide lots of stuff for your kids, but I've come to believe that there is a sweetness to simplifying the whole celebration. When I see the depth of character and grateful spirits of my children, I thank the Lord for some of the financial hardship we've endured.
It's forced us to look beyond presents and vacations for the jewel of being together and celebrating our history.
Today's Small Thing is to think about two things you'd like to do during the upcoming holiday season. These should be simple things that celebrate your own family history or something that you'd like to START as a tradition.
POINTS: 40 for doing some pre-holiday planning for traditions, new or old.
I'm going to pick a date for our annual cookie-making, and I will plan on leaving enough time for an outdoor fire on a cold, crisp night.