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Creating the Magic of the Holidays

Can we create holiday magic with new traditions?

What if this is the Holiday Season when you let go of some traditions that no longer fit?  What if this year you try something new and it brings the people you love closer?

Our family has a tradition of making graham cracker houses each year at the holidays.  Last year we hosted and we will again this year.  This year the graham cracker house-making party will be the one holiday event where we all get together and my mom and I are thinking about what we'd like to include in the evening

This is serious work.

A big gift exchange would be awkward with family AND friends in the mix, but that might be fine.

Over the past few years we've been trying to move away GIFTS from that being the sole point of our family celebrations.  By adding traditions like making the figgy pudding, singing carols and making graham cracker house we are trying to infuse this holiday with more joy, more magic and less stuff.

Graham cracker houses village

 Moving away from what we always did as children feels risky sometimes.

Nobody wants to ruin someone elses holiday.  Over the years we've added spouses and children of our own to the mix though, and just repeating our childhood won't work.  It felt like a risk the first year Michael and I hosted the big family gathering on Soltice instead of Christmas Eve, but it went well.

Last year my sister-in-law brought a pile of Christmas Carols and lead us through a couple wobbly renditions together.  It felt like a risk when she offered to do that.  I had a flash of,“Oh, I would sure like to do that, but but that's not what we do!  What if nobody likes it?”

And you know, we may not have sounded perfect, but  we all tried something new together and just that small bit of vulnerability of trying something new as a family brought us closer together.  When we were smiling at each other and singing  I thought, “Maybe we CAN be the sort of people who do things like that, who have moments like this.”

So this year we take a little risk again.  We invite friends to a family function, we'll try new foods and we're finding new ways to include my 89 year old grandmother  in the holidays without overwhelming her. (Hint to self- she doesn't actually enjoy a huge noisy crown any more, maybe it actually is ok to just have a quiet visit with her on another day.) We'll give it a try!

Aftermath

It is being present with those we love that makes the magic of this season.

As I move into the next couple weeks I'm going to take a memory and tuck it in my pocket to help me remember the type of magic I want to be present to:

Yesterday my three year old found a book of Christmas Carols on our shelf and wanted me to sing some with him.  It had pretty pictures and we flipped though and I sang at each page he pointed to.  He stood next to me on a kitchen stool and as I was singing and he reached for my hand.

Holding hands with this precious boy as he grinned and I sang; that's magic.