they either comfort you or stress you out


This year (next week, in fact) we are taking a family trip to Disney World as an early Christmas and a “Yay we survived deployment” trip. As a result of this big trip, the rest of our Christmas celebration is going to be pretty meager this year.

So I started thinking; if Christmas this year is not about the gifts, and if it is just the three of us in my little family, what will make it special? How will we know that Christmas day is not just another day that we don’t have to go to work?

That’s where traditions come in. Traditions are an important part of our family holidays. They help create a sense of specialness and they serve as an avenue for creating lasting memories for us and our son.

The traditions we have developed as a family are a blendof the traditions both my husband and I had growing up. If I am telling the truth, his family was a lot more casual than mine, so many of our traditions are the ones that I grew up with.

We don’t always do the same traditions every year. I think that is because sometimes we travel and sometimes we don’t, so we have to be flexible. I am also the keeper of  our traditions, and since I have been struggling with untreated thyroid issues for many years, I haven’t always had the energy or the desire to do all of the traditional things we do for Christmas—the pressure of the traditions stressed me out too much. Some years I’ve been lucky just to get the tree up.

This year I am feeling energetic and optimistic and I want to renew some of our traditions So I started thinking about which traditions I love, and which ones I miss the most when we don’t do them.

I love making cookies with my boys and giving plates to the neighbors. We make a mess, and they don’t always decorate the cookies like I want them to, but it is always a fun time for us.

I love decorating the tree and having a small touch of Christmas in the rooms throughout the house. I used to go all out decorating every room, but I just don’t have the energy for that anymore. But I do like having a sprig of holly on a wall, or a wreath on a door…just a touch of holiday cheer in every room to make me smile.

I’m thinking about having a Christmas tea this year. I haven’t done that in about five years. It gives me such joy to share a special time with special friends. (It also gives me a place to serve all of the deserts my boys and I made).

Oh! And I think we will have fondue for Christmas dinner! We did that a few years ago and had a blast!

As for Christmas day, I think I will just be happy to see what my husband and I put in each other’s stockings and then watch my son open his gifts. We can eat candy, watch movies, nap, or do anything else we please.

The thing about traditions is to make them fun and enjoyable. If a tradition is stressful, or if it makes you resent the holidays, then it is not a good one. Traditions are supposed to support and foster feelings of happiness and cheer.

What are your traditions? Do they enhance your holiday, or do they just add stress? Share what you love about Christmas in the comments below.

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