Sometimes you don’t realize how important holiday traditions with family are until you try to change them. It happened with me recently when I asked my daughter who was coming home from college if she would mind if we skipped doing Christmas stockings this year. My older daughter is the most pragmatic, least wasteful person I know–she doesn’t want anything extraneous, ever. But I could tell from the long pause on the phone after I asked her the question that, she still wanted her stocking, in some shape or form.
We have a couple of traditions that I have carried over from my childhood, one being stockings. I grew up running downstairs in the morning to find a stocking stuffed with presents big (jewelry when I got older), but mostly small, random little toys, trinkets, candies and whatnots. Our stockings were stuffed with goodies and a sense of humor. So when we had our daughters we continued. Everyone in the extended family has a stocking, and they are nothing fancy–I stitched them from felt and each has designs on it that reference a person’s interests. Inside you’re as likely to find a wind up toy as you are a Glossier lip balm.
Another tradition we have are sugar cookies. Though this year we will have a vegan batch (for my younger daughter) and a regular one. Again, I tried to upgrade the design aesthetic by suggesting simple shapes in a kaleidoscope of colors from bright to pastel. Again, vetoed. We will stick with our snowman, candy canes, Christmas trees and angels and ice them in our typical haphazard manner.
What I have learned this year, more than most, is that traditions–no matter how small, matter. They are the glue that brings families together. While the world around us seems to be chaotic (to put it mildly), there is something to be said for ignoring it for a while and concentrating on doing delightful things with the people you love.
I hope you enjoy your holiday traditions over the next few days (or have been already). I know I will.