During our first few years together it was just my husband and I. We always celebrated Christmas with great friends and extended family but more importantly, with each other. Money was tight so gifts were limited but thoughtful and always appreciated. It was nostalgic and romantic and memorable. Then our daughter came and Christmas naturally transformed into something else altogether. Each of our previous family’s traditions somehow melded into our own. Suddenly, it was all about hunting for the largest tree, Santa Claus, holiday carols, baking marathons, huge family dinners with tons of cousins running around and a frenzy of wrapping and unwrapping. It was nuts. It was a blur. And it was fantastic! It was a different kind of perfect but still memorable and I loved it!
Things changed yet again when our daughter started questioning the “reality” of Santa. It was a slow realization and we were able to keep the excitement going for a couple more years but then it became clear that she no longer “believed”. I will admit it was a difficult time for me and I wasn’t sure where to take our traditions from there. Other things were changing too, it seemed. Family get-togethers were difficult to organize, buying gifts was more of a chore than a pleasure, I suddenly didn’t want that monstrosity of a tree in my living room and I was tired of baking all those unhealthy sweets. To add to that, it seemed to me that more and more people were becoming unhappy, down right grouchy even, during that time of year. And… um… hello? When did Christmas commercials start airing before Halloween?? Seriously?? So there it was. It was a different tone and feeling about Christmas and I was not impressed. I was feeling very much like the proverbial Mrs. Grinch.
Ironically, it was my very first batch of Hand & Body Lotion that set things in motion for me to shift my beliefs surrounding our family’s holiday traditions. That first batch, I gave away as Christmas gifts to my family and friends. It was the first time I’d made anything for gifting and everyone loved it! I knew then, I would want to do something like that every year. This was the first step in moving away from old traditions that were no longer working (I used to agonize over what to buy for everyone!) and towards being open to something new (perhaps everything didn’t have to be exactly the same every year….). I suddenly didn’t feel so “Grinchy” anymore. During the last few years we’ve had a lot more fun watching our rituals evolve, freely changing out old ones to make room for any new ones. Choosing to not remain stuck in the ideals of past traditions was the key to me moving on and making the holidays something special again. Regardless of how you celebrate Christmas and the coming festivities, remember to consider what you want to get out of the holiday and make it happen. You have to create your own traditions by augmenting those that already exist or developing new ones that fit into your lifestyle, as it is today.
Here’s just a few of the things we’ve incorporated over the last few years to help us make our own kind of Christmas, stay authentic and grounded, and feel less stressed during the season:
- We like to keep gift-giving simple by making our famous Chocolate Coffee Liqueur and some sort of sweet treat (organic of course) for all of our friends and family (but any DIY would be great, I promise!).
- We find now that “less is more” so my husband and I have a small $ limit and a theme to follow to pick out just one gift for each other. This is actually quite challenging and a lot of fun!
- I still don’t want the huge tree in my living room so my beautifully family has graciously agreed to a modified Christmas theme. We go all out Beachy/Hawaiian now, complete with a decorated palm tree and beach bags for stockings. My daughter is all for it!
- If we have a family dinner at our home, we cater or go potluck. It’s just too much work otherwise.
- We never go anywhere on Christmas day. It’s reserved for just us – something in the crockpot, jammies, movies, games and lots of treats.
- This year, we’ve added the ‘24 days of Tea’ advent calendar to our traditions. Each day, beginning Dec 1st, we will try a new tea together, adding some special bonding time during the craziness of the season.
- If I’ve somehow missed someone on my list I don’t sweat it anymore. Gift cards and locally made chocolate make perfect last-minute gifts!
Merry Christmas! From all of us at Chiluna, we wish you all the love and happiness this beautiful time of year has to offer.