Creating Yuletide Traditions

Blessed Yuletide, friends!

I do hope that today’s post finds you warm and happy, surrounded by those you hold closest to your hearts.

The season has continued on it’s hectic way since my last post, and we have been bustling along our merry way.

This year, it is my mission to begin establishing how, exactly it is that we will celebrate the Yule season as a family.

In the past, I have posted about my own strife in figuring out the changing and merging of two belief systems. Now I am coming to the exploration and implementation of doing that.

I realize that new traditions are generally not things that are suddenly just invented, but something that come to pass over time. So I know that our list of Yule traditions (and this is true for every holiday or special occasion we may celebrate) will grow in coming years.

There is already one tradition in place in our household. Every year just around Yule, we bake and box dozens upon dozens of cookies. We ship them to some of our family and friends near and far, and delight upon hearing reports of their receipt. It’s quite the big to-do, given the tons of cookies we make. And it makes for a very busy, and tiring, weekend. But I love doing it. It is so incredibly worth it.Yule cookies!

Of all the years we’ve been celebrating this holiday season with our boys (not many, for sure), this is really the year when the consumerism part comes into play. Prior to this year, the boys haven’t really had an understanding of why there are presents to open on any given day. This year is different. Our oldest, at least, totally gets it.

And so, the question of how many gifts is too many rears it’s ugly head.

My husband is rather a minimalist when it comes to these things. We ask for family to send sensible gifts rather than toys, if any at all. We try to pare down the toy box when we do get new toys. It only makes sense, and we do attempt to keep some semblance of order to these things.

But I came from a family that just LOVED the giant pile of packages under the tree, and delighted in opening them Christmas morning. It was a perfect snapshot, year after year, of what the all-American Christmas holiday had become.

And while that is definitely not a bad thing (a happy family is definitely the goal here, right?), and I do love my Christmas memories, I feel that we are moving in a new direction. Scads of gifts is nice, but we are learning that sharing the love of the holiday is more important.

Yule treeTry to tell that to my inner child. The boys do have relatives that will send them toys regardless of how we admonish them (and hey, I would, too, if I were them!). And they definitely also have a mom that can’t help but get that “one more thing that I know they’d just love”!!

So, regardless of our (brain) feelings as a parental whole on the matter, the (heart) feelings seem to win over just a bit. And the pile of presents under the tree is something to behold.

However, this year we are trying something new. Because I don’t necessarily hold much belief in the whole “Christmas Day” thing anymore, and generally our holiday falls on the Winter Solstice, I have been drawn to that whole “12 Days” idea.

It may sound crazy, but instead of one day of gift opening insanity, we are spreading out the frenzy over the whole of twelve days, starting at Yule. So the first day, the boys started each with a gift – lovely new quilts made by their grandma. And each day we will let them open a little bit more. Yesterday they shared in opening a single gift meant for the both of them. It will shift and change, depending on the gifts and the behavior of the boys throughout the experience. So far so good, but we’ll let you know how it goes.

Opening presents!The other dilemma brought with the new, conscious age of the boys to the holiday season is that of Santa Claus. How to deal with the rotund man in red. For now, I am carrying on a tradition from my childhood, marking some of the gifts “From: Santa” (something I delight in even to this day, when I receive an odd gift from my step-grandfather).

As far as explaining all that to the boys, well, to be honest, they haven’t asked about it yet. And much as I know that they’re getting more than their fair share of the jolly man in their cartoons, until they ask, I’m not going to worry much about it (although I’ll certainly be formulating an answer in my head – after all, working him into the twelve days idea might be a bit difficult).

So for now, Santa is there (he’s been there too long for me to just let him go – some day I might tell you why I’m a secret believer), and I’m sure he will remain there in some way for years to come.

I’ll let you know how that goes, too.

Holiday cheer!
Merry Solstice Season, Everyone!

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