Williamsburg Hill

Williamsburg Hill

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Holiday Traditions

Handmade Ornament
This holiday season has found me melancholy and wistful.  It has brought out the Grinch-like tendencies and bah-hum-bug attitude that I never thought I’d experience during this time of year.  Some of it is due to the dreary, rainy weather that’s overstayed its welcome; snow and sunshine are more preferable at Christmas, in my opinion.  Impatient people and traffic don’t help much, as never-ending road construction in my neck of the woods can double travel time if you don’t plan ahead. 
However, I think this gloomy cloud can mostly be attributed to nostalgia.  This past year has been one of change for my family and for the first time, we won’t all be together for Christmas (my younger daughter and son-in-law live in Colorado now and can’t make it home).  Yearning and remembering seem to fill too much of my time and, while the thoughts are happy ones, they bring about a bit of sadness simply because time passes too quickly.
Just like most families, when my daughters were younger, we initiated Christmas traditions that followed us every year.  We engaged in all of the holiday activities that made the time busy but happy.  Christmas cookies were baked, holiday movies watched, recitals and pageants performed.  We even cut our own Christmas tree every year.  It was tradition to do so until my oldest was diagnosed with asthma and having a tree in the house triggered allergies, which then initiated asthma attacks.  Artificial trees have been part of our lives since. 
Volunteering for classroom parties is something I miss at this time of the year; receiving the ornaments my children made and the gifts they purchased for me at their holiday gift shops at school are things I cherish.  So are the memories.
Of course, the traditions continue.  I still mail Christmas cards, even though most have abandoned this form of holiday greeting in favor of quick emails.  Holiday music fills our house for most of December; my husband and I still jump in the car and drive through neighborhoods looking at Christmas lights (however, now our dog accompanies us instead of our kids).  I cook too much and always have; I love decorating for the season and creating a beautiful table for Christmas dinner.  Those things haven’t changed. 
Hand carved by Polly Page
When I travel, I like to purchase Christmas ornaments as souvenirs.  When it comes time to decorate the tree, it’s wonderful to remember the special places I’ve been.  Some of my favorite decorations include the ones my kids made and a hand-carved nativity set made by my Aunt Polly.  All are displayed proudly.  Traditions and memories that will help get through “a first”.    
I’m trying to take Irving Berlin’s lyrics “Count your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)” to heart, and once the skies clear and I’ve actually finished all I need to do (grocery shopping is always last), my outlook will be better.  FaceTime and Skype will make the time a little easier and I do realize that all I’m facing is life, as everyone does.  It isn’t unique to me; it’s just part of growth and change.  Some just handle it a little better than others.
I do hope all of you have a wonderful holiday.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.


  1. Thank you for such a lovely article. "Volunteering for classroom parties is something I miss at this time of the year" touched my heart, since after 13 years of being Homeroom Mom, today was my last one since my youngest enters middle school next year. I'll have one more Christmas to enjoy his handmade ornaments. I'm too tired from all the plotting, planning, and then running party games for 84 children to process the finality of it all, but it's slowing starting to sink in as I write this. Maybe I'll have a good cry, maybe I won't. I'm not sure! At least my 11 and 12 year old boys are still home, and I'm not dealing with an "empty nest" just yet. You're right... part of life is growth and change; we have to roll with it or it will roll over us. May you and your sweet family have the Merriest of Christmas, even if it's a new form of merry!

    1. You're welcome and thank you for the comment. The growth and change happen in stages, with adjustments made for the circumstances. I know this is just a minor one...by the way, the skies cleared for a brief amount of time today and I saw the sun. That always helps. Merry Christmas to you and your sweet family, too.

  2. *slowly
    **Errors, errors, tsk, tsk! I must really be tired, ha ha ha!**