I seem to be hitting a bit of blogger’s block. Or rather, I think it’s that I have so MUCH to say that I don’t know where to begin. It could also be that I haven’t had much time to sit and reflect about what I want to say. So please excuse the lack of much substance til after the holidays. Or heck, maybe til March- after Xmas, there’s Fairy Girl’s birthday, then The Boy’s birthday, and then I’m going to attempt to get my Etsy shop up and running. No, I’m sure I will have something to say before March!
But today, Christmas stuff.
I love Christmas- it’s my favorite holiday. It’s somewhat of a confusing holiday for me, though. I grew up in a primarily Christian home, and Christmas was Jesus’ birthday, and a second component was the Santa Claus/ gifts part. I focused heavily on the gifts part as a kid, as most kids do, I think. But it wasn’t just getting gifts. It was the whole magic of the day. At night, the stockings are empty, and the tree is bare. In the morning, your stocking is bulging with unknown wonders, and the tree is full of presents! Magic! Add snow to the mix, especially if it falls on Christmas Eve, and even MORE magic! I try to hold onto that feeling each Christmas, and my goal to to create that now for Fairy Girl. That is why we do Santa in this house- he’s all just part of the magic- and I personally haven’t had the heart to stop believing in him yet. When I was in high school, my dad told me that we never did the “naughty/nice” bit, because his love for us, his kids, was unconditional. Santa brought gifts no matter what, because we were who we were. And I will continue in that tradition. While we will do Santa, there will be no naughty or nice manipulation.
About the time dad was explaining his philosophy on Santa to me, I was beginning to hang out with Pagan herbal types online, and discovering the roots of the Christian holidays. Christmas is a thinly veiled Yule celebration. Which is great, if you have no qualms about Paganism, but I had to, as a Christian, decide how to embrace that and keep my magical holiday, or decide to stop celebrating Christmas at all. Add to that, that about the time I was 8, my family started attending a Messianic synagogue. Messianic Jews are Jews who believe that Jesus is the Messiah. I’m not Jewish, so the Messianic movement means something slightly different to me- I mean, we still believe Jesus is the Messiah, but when a Gentile believes that, they usually call themselves Christian. The Messianic part comes in when the Gentile believes that the Old Testament laws- the Torah still apply to them, and so they keep the Jewish Holy days, and some other traditions- or not- I’ve met some who believe that all tradition should be done away with, and only the Biblical commands adhered to. I fall somewhere in the middle, but that’s a post for a different day. Anyway, when you add a Jewish component to the winter Holy Days, then it becomes “To celebrate or not to celebrate Christmas at all?” And “To celebrate or not to celebrate Channukah?” And “Can we do both?” And “How do we do both without spending all our money on gifts, and making our children materialistic, and losing sight of the whole reason we’re celebrating anyway?”
Sigh. I guess I did have something to say today.
I can’t say I’ve found all the answers yet. So far, we do still celebrate Christmas, and will continue to. I decided last year that it wasn’t so much a religious holiday as a cultural one for me. But truly, it IS spiritual for me. But I’ve barely begun to scratch the surface on that one, and I can’t write about it yet. We don’t celebrate Channukah. Yet. But we make latkes and kugel at our Christmas dinner.
A new tradition I decided to do for this year, is on Christmas Eve, read “A Visit From St. Nick”. And on Christmas morning, read the story of the nativity from Luke. We’ll see how that goes.
Even though there are lots of complicated things about Christmas, there are very simple reasons we celebrate. I love the day. I love the lights, the warmth, the magic. I love the anticipation. To me, that’s the best part. I’m looking forward to reliving the magic through Fairy Girl. She’s nearly two, just old enough to start figuring out what it’s all about. I read “Unplug the Christmas Machine” last year(our third Christmas as a family, our first one with Fairy Girl), and really was able to take stock of what I want the day to be for our family. With that in mind, I pared down our traditions to the ones that mean the most to us.
LOTS of baking. I make recipes written in my grandmothers’ and mother’s hand. And I added some of my own favorites. I make the same ones every year, and it is the ONLY time of year I make them. They taste like Christmas to me!
My baking list:
Secret Kiss Cookies
Cut out cookies (the kind you roll out, decorate, and consume entirely too much sugar on)
Potato Candy (naturally gluten free)
and Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies (this year, gluten free!)
I also have a tradition of decorating outside for the birds (and the squirrels. Like Dawn, I love the squirrels as much as I love the birds.) This year, we did popcorn and cranberry garlands, and pinecone bird feeders. No pictures of that; it wasn’t very picture worthy, and it was dark when we did it anyway. The squirrels had decimated everything by morning. I’m glad they appreciated it.
This year, we also did some homemade ornaments.
We did cinnamon dough boys
And sparkly pine cones
Still no ribbon candy ornaments. I decided to do those during one of Fairy Girl’s naps, but today I’m blogging instead. So, another day (soon, though!).
When the Fairy Girl wakes from her nap, we’ll do a handprint ornament too. I wanted to do one every year, but I didn’t get to it last year. I can’t express how sad that still makes me. I will never again be able to capture my daughter’s handprint at one year old and hang it on the tree. So, in a brave attempt to Get Over It, I’m starting a tradition of “Baby’s Second Christmas” handprint ornaments. I’ll take a pic, because who can resist a tiny handprint?
And now, I’ll leave you with some wintery pictures.
The snow coming down. That isn’t our front door, it’s our neighbor’s. But I liked their lights and garland.
Our garden gate:
Like I said, who can resist a tiny handprint? But you can’t see how tiny it really is. I wish I’d been able to capture that.
Leaves in snow. Just something I thought was pretty.
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