Chasing Contentment

Tuesday, November 8

As part of our holiday planning, last night, my boys and I discussed my Holiday Questions and talked about what we wanted for our holidays this year (Eliza's too young and non-verbal to participate in the conversation just yet).

We didn't talk about Thanksgiving traditions since we'll spend that holiday with my extended family, and we'll follow their traditions (which are not quite the 'watch the Macy's Day Parade, eat your turkey, put the tree up' event that Turkey Day is at our house). But we discussed Christmas and all of its activities and New Year's.

Each year when we do these questions, I am both surprised by some of Griff's answers and reassured by some of Mike's. This annual conversation amongst us about what we want for our holidays serves as a touchstone for me to see things we could do to better nourish our children's souls and to see so many ways that we have already created strong traditions of our own.

Neither Mike nor I come from large families nor do we have large extended families, and traditions were short in both families. I adore the consistency of rituals, and it's always been important to me to create traditions for our little family. In beginning fresh, we were able to make sure that the traditions we held dear were important for their meaning not simply for their ritual value.

I like that Griff enjoys putting up the tree (me, too!), and I'm reassured that he's not growing up too fast when he says that stockings and presents are favorites, too. (Stockings are my very favorite part of Christmas presents. I can hardly wait each year to see what trinkets Mike has found to slip into my stocking!)

I like that one of Mike's favorite holiday activities is for all of us to attend the annual Hanging of the Green at church. Last year, Mandy and Josh went with us to see Griff sing in the children's choir, and Eliza cooed at the people in front of us the entire time. These are memories I'll cherish.

Eliza's old enough and strong enough that this year, we can attend the Christmas Eve service at church, too, something we've missed these last two years with her being so young and tender.

I like that the Advent wreath that we do each Sunday evening at home during the Advent season gives us reason to pause and remember Christ and the reason we celebrate.

I love the Advent wreath just as much - admittedly - because it was given to me by my late grandmother the first Christmas Mike and I were married. It's how we began our married holidays... with a little Christ remembering thanks to an enormously special lady. Our weekly Bible study meets on Sunday evenings, and I may see if I can incorporate those dear folks into our Advent evenings.

I take it as quite the accomplishment that Mike didn't have a single tradition that we observe that he doesn't like. That means we're being successful at creating traditions that nourish us.

Poor Griff lost out, though, in that the one thing he doesn't like is in direct conflict with something I like very much. I suppose that's the price of childhood. He and Eliza can always gripe to one another about how the crazy mama made everyone put up Christmas decorations as soon as Thanksgiving was over instead of waiting until Dec. 1. It'll give them something to look forward to changing when they have their own homes and traditions.

And because we're foodies... we had to discuss what holiday foods we wanted. Griff, for the first year in years and years, will be able to eat some baked goods, complete with eggs, and so that was his only request... a request I'll be happy to fill.

I love knowing what my family wants for the holidays, not what's on their gift list but what fills them with the joy of the season. Now that I have the answers, I can balance our activites throughout the season with what I know we each need. Hopefully, we will all arrive in 2006 with a renewed sense of the love that we share with one another and with those family and friends around us and also with a renewed spirit, a greater joy in Christ.

(...oh...Griff wants to string popcorn for the tree, something I've never done. Anyone with instructions, please comment!)

[  posted by Chel on Tuesday, November 08, 2005  ]


i used to love to string popcorn when i was griff's age. of course, i think i ate more than what would end up on the string.

if i remember correctly, it's actually good if the popcorn is a little stale because it becomes less crisp. and if you have an air popper that seems to be the best bet. if not, just don't use the butter kind of popcorn because it seems to sour (learned that the hard way ;) ). I always used regular white thread and a needle that wasn't super sharp (prevents ouch-ies).

good luck. take pictures!

By Blogger shoelessruth, at 6:04 PM  

I must say, when I read that Griff loves to eat and seems to be concerned about eating I thought to myself, "He might be a Baptist preacher/pastor one day." i had to laugh.

By Blogger NBA, at 11:34 PM  

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