Holiday Traditions Old and New

After spending some time online reading some lists that suggest possible holiday traditions to do in the month of December, I have decided to make a list of what I am planning on doing or have already been doing.

There are three categories of traditions that I decided to make as goals: traditions from my childhood that I love to do, traditions that I have done for years alone without any family involvement and continue to do alone at my homespace, and new traditions that I am trying to explore and do.

I decided to pick no more than five items for each of the three lists. Mostly because when I get overwhelmed and make too many goals for myself, I tend to get constricted when overwhelmed with trying to add to many things in too short of a time period and with too little energy and health, especially since I have had a sinus infection this week.

Childhood Traditions:

1 Christmas tree.

Though I have an artificial one.

2 Christmas music.

And lots of it. I have already checked out several of my favorite Christmas cds that I don’t have yet and bought more than used ten cds of some of my faves that I finally found very reasonable online.

3 Christmas animated specials.

I try to buy them used and wait for great sales and this year have gotten more of the older and newer specials that I love.

4 Sing Christmas songs.

Usually in tandem with cds. I am, unfortunately an untrained singer, but I love it, always have, hope that I always will.  I do it often, but try not to do it after a certain time of the evening.

5 Holiday foods and celebrations with treats.

I love these kinds of little additions to my personal celebrations. With health considerations and limitations I have been eating my favorite foods a lot less, so I am looking forward to a few indulgences in the next few weeks.

I am also doing my extra steps exercising, so I am hoping that will help me to stay on track with my improving my health by walking, which always has helped when I am able to do it. I used to be much more active outside at this time of year and I regret that I do not go ice skating, walking for miles, sledding, etc.

My traditions:

1 Bake things.

This is something that I never used to do, but I have in the last four or five years and I enjoy it. I’ve made bread, chocolate chip cookies, and brownies. I will probably do all three things, I just need to get to a store that sells the gluten free stuff.

2 Attend some holiday gathering or presentation.

I am going to try to go to a free holiday presentation at a local store. I try to go to something every year. If I am well enough and the weather is tolerable, I will.

3 Read Christmas children’s picture books.

I love this holiday tradition. I have already gotten and read more than ten books from the library. I got some of my all-time favorite ones, read some and already returned some, and others I am still keeping and reading more than once.

4 Make Christmas crafts.

This is a celebratory creative endeavor and I had not done it for more than five years. I am happy and proud to say that I already made a few things, for gifts for others.

5 Celebrate other December holidays.

As a Christian I have tried, over the years, to adopt some Jewish holiday traditions, to incorporate them into my life. I believe that the early Christians combined the old traditions with the new and this was common for hundreds of years. I enjoy the combination. I find the Celebration of Lights incredibly powerful, miraculous, hopeful, healing, and positive.

I am also trying to, in some small way, start celebrating winter solstice as well. I’ve been having a lot of trouble doing that, over the years, but I am hoping that I can manage to do something small this year.

I’ll write more about that after I’ve really looked over the articles and made some decisions. I’ve kind of reached my limit tonight on making decisions and probably need some hours to relax my mind and maybe tomorrow or soon after I can write about what I am planning on doing for winter solstice.

I am also considering doing something for St Thomas’ Day in honor of St Thomas the Apostle on December 21st, perhaps early in the afternoon, the same day as the winter solstice.

New Traditions:

1 St. Nicholas Day Celebration.

I’ve wanted to do this for years. I am really looking forward to the St. Nick party I will be going to.

2 Do a white elephant gift exchange.

I read about this several years ago in a Christmas holiday mini-book and I’ve wanted to do that since. I have invited several family members to do it.

3 Donate Christmas presents.

For many years I volunteered at my local food shelf and participated in their Christmas presents for children program. I took part in unpacking and separating the presents into the different ages for boys and girls, which involved more than a week long of work by lots and lots of volunteers, both for the food and the toys aspects. I also took part with the two day long food and presents giveaway. My health has not been well enough to participate in that for several years, too much standing, lifting, the building is too cold, etc. But I have often thought of donating Christmas presents for children and teens. I don’t live near there and so I decided to get a few presents and donate them to the local women’s shelter.

4 Write a letter to Santa.

The Littles have not done this in years, they have mentioned several times that they would like to do this, so I am sure that they will enjoy it.

5 Celebrate Advent.

I’ve already celebrated the first Sunday of Advent. It was really awesome. I am planning on making the second Sunday even more special, with small, little extra things. I still want to keep the goals small and very achievable, which is helping me in establishing a new tradition. I’m not trying to do something special as an Advent activity each day, but for sure each Sunday of Advent for this year. Each year, I am hoping, that I will be able to add more depth and more breadth to my Advent celebrations.

I tried to pick goals that are small or estimated to be achievable, or that I have achieved in the past or am doing already this past week. A few goals are iffy, but I am going to try to do them and hopefully I will do them all and enjoy them all. I will be posting more as the month goes on. What are you going to do? Just remember, not doing anything is just as valid as a choice. Good and healing thoughts to you all.

Here are some links to some articles that I looked at:

75 Family Christmas Traditions

Family Advent Activities

40 Christmas Traditions

St. Nicholas Day

Hanukkah

Celebrating Winter Solstice

How to Have a Solstice Celebration

Winter Solstice: Ritual, Ideas, & Celebrations

Customs & Holidays around the Solstice

One thought on “Holiday Traditions Old and New

  1. Pingback: Holiday Coping | Kate Is Rising

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