I’ve been doing some work for an online magazine. And of all things, I’m writing about grief and loss.
Writing about a sad topic, especially at this time of year, has, however, offered me some soulful insights. It’s got me thinking about memories – and creating them – for that’s all we have when, sadly, a loved one is no longer with us. It’s the happy memories, and even the silly ones, that keep us going – not the material stuff.
Naturally, I began to think about whether I had any particular traditions for the holiday season to build great memories upon.
My side of the family – as with many families – has a long-standing tradition of Christmas lunch. What I love about it, is the extra specialness of getting together as a clan at this time of year – eating yummy food, which is a mix of Western and Eastern, with goat curry being a staple Christmas dish on our table. It has a certain air about it.
Five years ago, Kris Kringle was introduced for the adults too. And my nephews, aged five and seven, now know they need to hand a gift from under the tree to an adult for each gift they open – to learn the joy of giving too (thank you to a dear friend for this brilliant idea).
My husband is into creating his own traditions, the depth of which I’ve just recently realised. I think it bothers him that we don’t have any particular Christmas traditions just for our little nuclear family of two humans and two fur babies. Without children – for children do make it easy to bring Christmas to life – creating traditions, I have found, can easily go by the wayside.
So, as of this year, rather than the conventional Christmas tree, the hubby and I have started a tradition of ‘his and her stockings’. Blue for his, pink for mine. Clichéd, yes, but, at least, they’re not red and green.
Into the stockings we’ll stuff goodies for each other – mostly what we use, want to experience (or eat!), but which are also a little extraordinary. The essence of this tradition is tuning into each other’s needs and desires – that ol’ mindfulness thing again – to gift something meaningful.
Each year, I’ll enjoy creating memories around this ritual – hanging the stockings, being clued into what my husband is saying for gift ideas, and then sneakily wrapping and plopping the wares into his stocking while he’s none the wiser.
We also mark Christmas by hanging a wreath on the front door.
Simplicity is key in our household.
I’m also creating a ritual of catching up with a few friends, who are my closest. It’s our one-on-one time to recap the year over some great food, talk about how far our friendship has come, and to exchange something thoughtful. I also write something special about our relationship in the Chrissie card.
While these customs are not many, and nor are they revolutionary or grand, they’re my little way of celebrating the big day. And, they’re consciously chosen – from the kinships and gifts to the activities and the number of them – making this time of year a deeply pleasurable one, one for creating memories that feed soul.
You can consciously architect your Christmas too.
What traditions do you have? Which ones would you like to let go? Are there any new ones you wish to introduce?