Is it too early to start planning for the end of 2017? I hope not, as that is how I started the end of 2016. Welcome to the beginning!
But first, a blog? Yup, I decided I better get back online to engage more with what is important. After having a second child that just sounds so wrong, right!? I have a vision though. A vision and mission to get back to creativity and combine it with a focus on family.
My hope: Write and share online about what I am doing offline.
My thought is I will be more motivated to spend less time scrolling Facebook meaninglessly and more time being creative so I will have things to share that have more meaning.
Back to the end of 2016. Christmas in our house turned out to be much less joyful than I had hoped. Especially for this little guy's first Christmas:
Meet Kalder Jude Sather! Our little 9/11 bundle of joy.
I’m not sure I ever have high hopes for Christmas though. But that is a long story I won’t tell today. Lack of high hopes may have been part of the problem this year as there was little to no planning for holiday traditions. My six year old, Thayden, is in full consumerist bloom. I struggle with wanting to give him everything and at the same time wanting to squash his impulsive cravings for every toy seen in commercials. We are still adjusting to life with two children and there were out of town visitors as well. In retrospect it ended up being a shell of what I feel it should have been. We put up the dinky pre-lit Walmart tree in a hurry. There was no cookie baking, only one night of semi-pleasant Christmas light viewing as a family and our efforts to finally see Jungle Bells at the San Diego Zoo were quickly rained out.
It felt cheap and hollow in the end. There was nothing much I want my children to remember that was special. In fact, I would rather my six year old not remember this Christmas at all other than the family visitors and thoughtful gifts from grandparents.
Next year WILL BE DIFFERENT.
My goal for next Christmas is to choose two things I remember growing up that were wonderful about the holiday season. Then make every best effort to pass on and create memorable traditions for my children.
I have chosen:
1. Christmas cookies
I remember making several different types of Christmas cookies each year with my mother. I remember getting to choose some of the types we made and of course, I remember eating lots of them!
Thayden will choose three types of cookies he wants to make. This will of course take several days with a then seven year old and a 15 month old so planning will be key.
Note to self:
Involve Thayden in the planning process so he learns time/project management skills.
We will make cookies! I am particularly excited about making these cookies as Thayden has expressed a desire to give cookies to our neighbors and that attitude of gifting and generosity is something that desperately needs to be part of his holiday experience in the future. Growing up giving cookies to neighbors was not part of the tradition but I think it will be a wonderful way to carry on the cookie tradition and add a personal touch to it for Thayden’s future; an evolution of the tradition over the generations!
2. Christmas tree decorating
I remember getting a tree every year. I always wanted a Noble Fir but those were expensive so we always got a Douglas Fir. I remember the tense and stressful hassle of bringing it home and in to the house. Not always a pleasant memory but always a pleasant smell! I remember wrapping it with lights and hanging ornament after ornament. That’s what was truly special about the tree. Our ornaments were not plastic balls and tinsel, most were one of a kind as they were handmade.
If you really think about the concept of “handmade” anything that is handmade or constructed by human with the goal of creativity is also one of a kind. Even when we create the same thing over and over there are minute differences that make it one of a kind. If you sew the stitches aren’t always exactly the same. If you woodwork the cuts aren’t always exactly the same. The human hand has a way of contributing uniqueness to every creation whether or not we want uniqueness to be a part of our creations. It is those flaws that make our creations special, one of a kind, and worthy of admiration.
We will have a real tree this year! The last time we had a real tree was 2010 and it was Thayden’s first Christmas. I LOVED that tree. It was around until late February as I did not want to take it down. I so enjoyed looking at the lights and how they lit up each special ornament tucked in the branches. It was one of the few years so far (it needs to happen every year) in my adult life that my ornaments were beautifully displayed as I believe my parents hoped they would.
Growing up my sister and I each had a box of ornaments that were never hung on the tree. They were collected over the years and kept safe. This box is something I feel is so special and I want my children to have the same…
In future a blog post: The ornaments that NEED to be made. Kodiak Sea Stars with Kumihimo hanging loops. One for Thayden, as I have not yet made him a Kodiak Sea Star for his ornament box and one for Kalder!