Having Simon has given me a new sense of wonder for this time of year. I want him to feel the awe of the natural world slowly folding in on itself to sleep the winter off, and the awe of the candles and the evergreens, of the carols at church, of the bursts of bright red berries and the smell of cinnamon. I want him to be excited about baby Jesus and the bright guiding star, about cookies and St. Nicholas... And yes, I want him to be excited about giving small gifts to each other to remind us what gift was given to us 2000 years ago. So this year, while he is still small, we have begun traditions that hopefully will continue on. We are celebrating Advent. We are singing songs of expectation, lighting candles, reading books about the birth of Jesus and about winter, filling the house with evergreens and preparing for Christmas. We are not celebrating Christmas yet. We have decided to wait until Christmas eve to fully decorate the house and put up the tree... This one is hard for me, but I think it will be worth the wait. It is the traditional Catholic practice to observe 40 days of Christmas starting on Christmas Eve so at our church Christmas songs are just beginning then and the massive tree stays up till the end of January. on December 6th we celebrated St. Nicholas day by filling simon's shoes with treats. He was so excited to come downstairs that next morning to find his shoes... Mostly excited about the ginger cookie inside one of them but I'll take what I can get. On Christmas Eve I will be attempting to make tamales (what am I thinking?) which is the traditional Mexican way to celebrate and making chilaquiles for that morning. I can't wait to see Simon's face as he comes downstairs Christmas morning to see a lit tree, candles glowing, shiny packages and baby Jesus in the manger! We will start with breakfast and the Christmas story and then we will open gifts and, most importantly, the stockings together. I'm hoping that the pile of gifts is a small one but I LOVE stockings and will never give them up, so there.
Anyways, that is our plan. We are going on instinct and new knowledge, certainly not habit. This is all new to us but we are hoping Simon grows up with a deep appreciation and joy for these Advent and Christmas seasons.
|Chris and I last year at Philly's Christmas Village|
I'd love to hear how you resist the explosion of Christmas in October (or how you don't and why) and find special ways to draw out the celebration - please share!