December 03, 2010

Inventing Traditions

I enjoyed Christmas as a kid - what child doesn't like presents and a party? But it's only recently (yes, and belatedly) occurred to me that I haven't really done anything to make sure Caitlyn will be able to say the same in 20 years. Traditions, apparently, don't make themselves.

After moving out for college, I always went back home for Christmas. I wasn't responsible for shaping the holiday there, and by then the patterns were pretty much set. When we didn't go to my family's home, Ian and I went somewhere else where we still weren't responsible, leaving the orchestration of the day to someone else. For those times we didn't go anywhere, we cherry-picked favorite memories and threw together something Christmas-like without Making a Big Deal Out of It. I have fond memories of our German Christmas, but otherwise if there weren't extra family members around, we marked the occasion only with pie.

Now there is Caitlyn. And I want her to have more memories than this.

But where to start? What does Christmas look like for our family? Not what did it look like when I was small or what does Popular Culture think it should be, but for the three of us, here, now. I have a blank canvas of sorts, and I'm trying to be deliberate in how I fill it. Finding value and not just noise.

Somethings I know already: Christmas Morning Coffeecake. Heirloom stockings. Decorating as a family. Somethings won't happen: No large turkeys or year-old plum pudding. The rest is open for invention and the seeds of tradition.

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