#Resound11: Traditions

December traditions follow the path I traveled as a child, with some adjustments and experimentation. The weeks following Thanksgiving are filled with holiday song and spirit. There is a hint of something I the air that I like to think of as yet unfallen snow, but given where I’ve spent my Decembers, snow is pretty unlikely.

Certainly there is a feeling of the unexpected, a great sense of hope, and as I now see Christmas through my children’s eyes, a wonder and a worry that only a child can feel. Knowing the “real” Santa Claus is watching, my eldest’s eyes grow darker and his brow furrows. “I know, Mama, I know!” when I remind him that Mr. C. is ever watchful.

Fully against my better judgment, I give him all of the toy catalogs and newspaper ads that arrive every day this month, and not only that, I arm him with a child’s pair of scissors and a Sharpie so he can cut out and circle everything he likes. We then “put it on the list” for Santa’s review, and he understands that not everything on the list will arrive under the tree. Still, he is so excited, and the excitement is contagious. My youngest has discovered bubble wrap and screams in delight when his tiny feet pop and shake the clear packing paper. He has no list for Santa!

Growing up, we spent Christmas mornings unwrapping and exchanging gifts, peeling tangerines and breathing in peppermint. Stockings hung heavy, filled with treats and surprises that were opened when no gifts remained under the tree. My parents wore robes and a fire was lit before we were allowed to come into the living room, and usually a photo was snapped as we three girls entered the room where Santa has left his mark.

It was as if the island of misfit toys, and beautiful toys, and every toy in-between, had found itself to our living room. Every year I am grateful to have walked into a colorful, creative display of gifts, a generous and warm and loving scenario created mostly by my mother, and now, as a mom, I am eager to bring that same spirit and joy to my sons’ Christmas mornings.

A change, however, in tradition, allows that we may allow for a bit less structure and a bit less (potential) disappointment if things don’t always go as planned. And a bonus: more room for new traditions!

For example:

This weekend I took my eldest son, a self-proclaimed superhero in training, to see an abridged version of the Nutcracker ballet. He was really excited, especially when we met four of his preschool friends at the theatre. He recognized the music because of having heard it at school. He knew the story having read it with me a few times at home. He admired the dancers for their ability to twirl and jump. He clapped hard at every pause in the dance. Altogether, it was a great experience, and in his own words, “It was awesome!”

Cookies after the show were just the icing on the cake.

I kept glancing at him during the show, wondering if this little boy who shuns all things pink and frilly and princess-like could truly be so engaged at the ballet. At one point he whispered, “Mom! That’s the sugar plum fairy!”

I could do nothing but smile and nod.

Of course, there were a few minutes when he cried because he and his best Maple Room friend started pushing each other, fighting over the best spot to stand and watch the dancers. But besides that small incident, it was a wonderful night.

I’m curious to see if this one will stick. Will I have a teenage son one day asking me to get tickets to the Nutcracker?

As we approach the special and sacred days of Hanukkah and Christmas, I look forward to hearing about your own traditions, and continuing to make more of our own.

Prompted by #RESOUND11:

This is the time of year when families are upholding decades old traditions and working to create new ones.

It doesn’t matter what you celebrate (or don’t) … please share with us your December traditions: how they got started, why you continue them, and why they are special to you.

How will you resound?

Linking up with Love Links!

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8 thoughts on “#Resound11: Traditions

  1. Mom says:

    Wonderful article ! I so well remember our Christmas traditions. But do you think you’ll keep the tradition of Ravel’s Balero ??? (:

  2. beckybreitmaier says:

    Reading this gets me even more excited for Christmas!

  3. XLMIC says:

    Lovely! The Nutcracker is loved by all, isn’t it? 🙂

    Creating new traditions is one of the awesome perks of being a parent 🙂 Happy Holidays to you!

  4. I love the visual you painted of your Christmases with your parents, beautiful.

    I hope you do create some lovely traditions your sons will cherish and hopefully, pass on to their kids. Happy Holidays!

  5. I have an aversion to change, so it’s surprising that I am enjoying making new traditions with my children. I hope you continue creating memorable holiday traditions, traditions that will uniquely below to you and yours. Happy holidays!

  6. Stasha says:

    I did not really grow up with any traditions. But we have created a few of our own, including shushing my son through the local production of Nutcracker 🙂

  7. I love holiday traditions we had our own as well where I can still see the glow of Christmas tree lights and presents under the tree. Anticipation lingered as we waited for Santa. Thank you for filling my heart with these memories. I love that you took your son to the Nutcracker and perhaps that will be your new tradition. I too try to create new traditions for my minis but I hope through it all it will be the tradition of being together that brings us all the greatest joy. Merry Christmas!!!

  8. mannahattamamma says:

    My boys love the Nutcracker too – the athletic dancing, the mouse fight with the prince in Act I. They thought the dancing was easy until we got home and they tried to do the hops and turns and bends… !

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