Next week begins the season of Advent, of anticipation and waiting. This year, with a 16-month-old, we are talking more about the family traditions we’d like to form. Do we want to celebrate the magical myth of Santa Claus or the miraculous birth of Jesus? Do we completely ignore the commercialism but risk raising kids who try to find connections between Santa and Satan? Do we read through Advent scripture with Bea? Do we create amazing, cocoa-filled experiences and memories? In a season that is meant to quiet our hearts and help us to reflect on the miraculous, it is often met with blaring date-rape carols and the celebration of debt.
At our last MOPS meeting, our speaker Alex talked about how time, money, and relationships all affect the Advent season. Often, we try to pack every conceivable amazing Christmas memory into one month and we simply run out of time to do it all. In our excitement to create magic, we spend way more money than originally intended. And, during a season of in-laws and quantity-vs.-quality parties, we can overextend our relationships. As we talked, threes kept coming up. Perhaps we pick three memories we really want our kids to have – from a certain party to an experience like Blossoms of Light or cutting down a tree. Maybe we only give three presents, to focus on the spirit rather than the consumerism of Christmas. What if we choose three relationships to really focus on and give more quality time to.
I don’t know what family traditions we will create this year or what random things we will do that turn into traditions. Perhaps we’ll keep Bea up way past her bedtime too many nights in a row and end up having three meltdowns rather than three memories. What I do know is that I want to keep the anticipation of the season in mind. What are we waiting for? What do I want to instill in my child? Maybe it won’t be picture perfect, but if I can slow down and wait, maybe we will create some beautiful memories.
What are some of your favorite holiday traditions? How do you keep from becoming overwhelmed by Christmas?