We all have our own traditions. Some of them have been passed down from our families, and some of us create our own traditions to be passed down or not. I celebrate the Winter Solstice. I’ve written many times about my decision to stop celebrating Christmas and of the creation of my holiday tradition. I won’t repeat it here, but you can listen to the spoken word memoir piece about it here. I wouldn’t play the memoir for your kids as there are a couple of possible spoilers, but you can certainly share the song below that goes along with the memoir.
Tomorrow is December 1st, so tomorrow night I’ll light one candle, adding one each night until we reach December 22nd. I love this tradition, but I have to admit that I’m a sucker for Christmas music. Yes, I have the station saved on my car radio and when alone, I crank it up. Any holiday that includes music is good with me, but not everyone wants to hear Christmas music. Fortunately, there are plenty of winter songs you can share with your kids. “Frosty the Snowman,” Jingle Bells” and Winter Wonderland are just a few. The important thing is, remember to sing! Singing is a wonderful way to reduce the stress of the season, and we all feel it to some degree. I know that I’ve noticed the traffic getting crazier as so many people are rushing around getting their shopping done. I’m sometimes stressed because I’m feeling bombarded by the commercialization of Christmas. Kids often feel left out, if their families don’t celebrate that holiday because it’s become such a huge part of our culture. All of those stresses can be alleviated, at least to some degree, by singing together.
So … I am also a sucker for Christmas lights. I know it’s wasteful, especially those outrageous displays, but they’re fun, and they’re a welcome break from all the gloom of the darkening days. I used to play the “Christmas Light Game” with my kids. It was a fun competition to see who could point out the most light displays. It kept them occupied and interested on long car rides. They could do it endlessly because the landscape constantly changed adding new sights. When they got older, we turned it into a cooperative game because the competition was getting stressful. It was still fun, and once in a while, they would revert back to the competitive game.
When I chose to give up Christmas, I could have been a Scrooge about it invading my life but decided instead to remember that I can be flexible and embrace the parts of it that I like. There are always going to be things I’m not fond of, but I don’t have to put a lot of energy into hating them. I can tweak them a bit, create something to take their place or just ignore them, but music and fun will always be a part of whatever I do and for me, that includes Christmas Carols and lights. I hope you'll share your traditions with me. I'd love to hear about them.