The holidays sneak up and fly by when we keep a frenzied pace of checking off lists and rushing around for the big day. Growing up, I remember my Grandma, Mom and Aunts saying things like, “I’m done. Now I can enjoy.” Christmas was a chore until the work of shopping was done.
Simplifying our lives has helped us to take a different approach. Like our daughter, Ella, said, “I like the suspense and preparing for Christmas. The actual opening and tearing up of presents is sort of a letdown.” Savoring every part of the process with rituals and traditions, rather than rushing through, helps us to feel content once we are finished tearing up paper on Christmas morning.
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Create Your Own Rituals and Traditions From Faith, Friends, and Your Own Heart As You Slow Down
Here are a few of ours:
- Decorate for the birds – Cover pine cones in peanut butter, then roll them in birdseed. Gift the birds by hanging the pine cones on a tree you can see from your house. String popcorn for your bird tree, and make bird cookies. Use a simple flour, butter and water dough, cut into shapes with holiday cookie cutters, then press birdseed into them. Use a straw to cut holes for hanging before baking. Enjoy watching the birds flutter around their tree.
- Go searching for mistletoe – I got this idea from a friend who drives the Blue Ridge Parkway every year with his family in search of mistletoe. Last year, he told me a story about spotting mistletoe in the yard of an old farmstead. He could barely tell the story of knocking on the door without laughing. An old farmer and his wife looked at them sideways, but eventually loosened up and even helped them get the mistletoe down by offering a ladder. I can’t wait to try this one. These are the moments that become etched in the story of our lives.
- Play Christmas music – Last year, Pandora’s James Brown (Holiday) Radio rocked our tiny house. We love the ritual of singing the same songs every year. Now that Archer has learned to play the guitar, we are enjoying his concerts of our favorite Christmas tunes.
- Have as many campfires as possible – with our deck-side fire pit, we create the feel of a fireplace. I love looking out the window and watching the flames dance. It creates a space for us to continue enjoying the outdoors even in cold weather. There’s something inspiring about a fire on the darkest days of the year. It reminds us that light and warmth will return.
- Light a candle every night to remind ourselves that even in the darkest part of the year, our inner light burns bright.
What traditions add joy to your holiday season?
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