This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by Authentic Parenting and Living Peacefully with Children. This month our participants have written about gratitude and traditions by sharing what they are grateful for, how they share gratitude with their children, or about traditions they have with their families. The Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival will be taking a break in December, but we hope you will join us for the great line up of themes we have for 2013!
Christmas is a time steeped in tradition. As a child these were important to me, I knew what to expect and I have fond memories of this time of year. As I have grown older, got married and started a family my childhood traditions have been lost as they have had to be merged with those of my husbands family and those of siblings partners. I have realised recently that I am mourning their loss.
I have held on to one tradition and that is that we have Christmas in our home every other year, on the other year we visit both parents/grandparents they live some distance from us, but only an hour from each other. The Christmas we have at home is as I had as a child, fairly quiet and with a few simple presents. Christmas away is the total opposite, although we still give a few simple presents we receive, in my opinion, far too many. I will never forget a Christmas, a few years ago now, I had carefully bought presents for extended family. I watched in horror at the huge pile of presents they were opening, mine was opened and placed on a pile without being looked at and without any regard for who it was from. I was really saddened by it all, surely this is not what Christmas is all about?
It is difficult to tell someone that you want them to buy you less, I would not want to hurt anyone's feelings by suggesting that their presents are unwelcome. But I have come to realise that actually my feelings are being ignored too if the situation does not change.
Presents is just one thing, food can be just as bad. Where has the tradition, for some, of overindulgence, of doing a monthly shop for a few days meals come from? Again it is not for me. I find so much of the food associated with Christmas far too rich, Christmas pudding and cake, mince pies, a simple cake and an apple pie is good for me thanks. My ideal Christmas meal is one that is a bit special, it might take a bit longer than usual to prepare, it will be made from scratch and using ingredients not dissimilar to those that I would eat on a day to day basis as those are the ones that I love.
The most important thing to me at Christmas is that I can spend some quality time with my immediate family and, if it can be organised, my extended family too. It is about exchanging a few simple presents, and it is about sharing good food together. It is about moderation.
I am going to work hard at bringing some moderation into our family Christmas's, starting this year, perhaps then I will feel less overwhelmed by it all and actually enjoy it as I used to.
Visit Living Peacefully with Children and Authentic Parenting to find out how you can participate in next year's Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon November 30 with all the carnival links.)
- Counting My Blessings — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama expresses the importance of reflecting daily on all of her blessings, a ritual she shares with her daughter. Jennifer also shares a few things that she is most grateful for. .
- Thanksgiving — It really is true that what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. Vicky at Single Mother Ahoy had no choice but to be thankful for all the things that had a good go at finishing her off this year!
- My little gratitude list — Stone Age Parent provides a summary list of all that she is grateful for in her life, including her son, her family, her home, her friends and her country.
- Baking Bread and Nurturing Wonder— Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work shares her way of keeping family traditions alive and nurturing a sense of wonder and thankfulness for food through preparing homemade bread during the Holidays.
- Going Inside for the Winter Holidays — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children reflects that going inside, both physically and figuratively, allows her family to enjoy the winter season in peace and reflection with plenty of time for appreciation of the most important people in her life.
- Traditions — Sustainable Mum discusses the difficulty of establishing traditions that were important in her own childhood for her own children.
- Giving thanks for parenthood — Can we truly give thanks for both the darkness and the light on our parenting journey? Shonnie from Heart-Led Parenting shares her perspective on how gratitude for all that life offers is possible and essential.
- A Tree for the Birds— Alisha at Cinnamon and Sassafras shares her family's new tradition of skipping a traditional Christmas tree in favor of one in the yard.
- Cultivating Gratitude In Children — Lindy at Poppy Soap Co. shares her unique plan for helping her son understand just how blessed they are as a family.
- Are You Truly Grateful — Laura at Authentic Parenting ponders about the ramifications of gratitude as a characteristic.
- Maintaining Traditions Through Family Changes — Jenn from Monkey Butt Junction talks about how changes in her family have led to changing traditions.