Sunday, December 6, 2009

Holiday Traditions

Everyone says the Christmas season is getting longer and longer, with some stores putting out decorations right after Halloween. So how come I feel like it’s getting shorter and shorter? I feel good that I have most of my gifts purchased and my outside lights up, but I haven’t done Christmas cards or put much at all up inside the house. As usual I feel the rush of time as the clock counts down.

As a child Christmas seemed like a slow progression family traditions. First, the catalogs from JCPenney and Sears would come. We’d pour over the Toy sections for hours before circling our final “wish list” choices. Next we’d go get the tree. Often we’d cut our own and that was a grand adventure in finding the perfect tree. Not that the perfect tree had to be “perfect.” I remember trees with big holes that were perfect for handmade preschool ornaments. One year we had a hole so big my dad drilled a hole in the trunk and stuck an extra branch in to fill a gap. We didn’t care, as long as we got to drown it with tinsel at the end! Then there would be a day dedicated to homemade Christmas cookies. Frosting those cookies was half art and half competition. And finally, after gift buying, cookie eating, wrapping, the hanging of stockings with care, and Midnight Mass, finally it would be Christmas morning! Now that part seemed to go quickly, but what a joy!

Does anybody still make time to bake cookies from scratch or go cut down a real tree? Are your stockings homemade or store-bought? What Christmas traditions have you held on to that allow you to slow down and enjoy the season? My time comes at night when the tree is the only light in the room. Maybe “Silent Night” is playing or maybe it’s just plain silent. I can do without the cards and the cookies as long as I have that moment.