This year let’s try(again) to put the calm back into the next eight weeks. First up is Thanksgiving and being together around the table and acting like we are all thankful. Around our table we ask each person to tell the others gathered for what they are most grateful. The youngest ones mention baseball gloves and bikes. The older talk about some new human experience they have encountered and conquered, or an illness or health scare they overcame. From our elders it is often the simpler things…just being at the table for another Thanksgiving, noticing how much the children have grown, or the several generations sharing the same meal. In the end everything declared is a window into the age or stage of each person around the table and is a lesson in listening to and appreciating others. It is togetherness.
In our home Christmas is celebrated in a rather unique way. We spend the entire day together opening gifts. It isn’t that we have a lot of gifts, instead it is the way we have always planned the day. Each gift is opened ONLY after reading the hints attached to the gift, guessing about each hint, shaking the package, and talking about what might be inside. FINALLY the present is opened. Then, if it is a game we play it or a book we read some of it. A new dress or sweater? You have to try it on and show everyone how it looks. No one grabs at gifts and no one rushes, we have learned to enjoy the day! Before the next round it is time for muffins and juice. We stop to gather around the table and talk to each other about the Christmas day. When everyone is done eating it is back to the tree for the next round of gifts. We begin our day around the tree at about 8am and we are often still there at 2 or 3pm. We pause frequently throughout the day to shower and get out of our jammies, to make our Christmas dinner together, even some times to take naps or watch a favorite Christmas movie.
I can only imagine what some of you are thinking who usually watch your kids rip into their gifts all at the same time and are done within minutes each Christmas! Perhaps you would like to try a different approach to the holiday this year. We have celebrated Christmas this way for many years and believe me, Christmas has always been a really beautiful, long, calm day for our family. It has become more about being together and less about what we get. I know our children wouldn’t have it any other way!