We happen to be a household that celebrates just about everything. And so this particular season is an abundance of gratitude￼, love, and food. So this here is a guideline to the month of December as we know it and mayhaps you will find a thing or two you would like to incorporate for the next year. Pick and choose as you please. I in no way hope to offend anyone with how I choose to celebrate and honor the holidays I just find them all so beautiful and worthy of attention. If i left something out please let me know, maybe we can try something new next year too.
We celebrate the four Sundays of Advent. Growing up in a covenant Christian church a large beautiful holly wreath was hung from the ceiling in which for candles were placed, and every week in December another candle was lit. I grew up knowing the delicious anticipation of waiting for that fourth candle to be lit knowing that Christmas would soon follow. As an adult I found my home in a community that actively takes up the celebration of Advent each year. ￼￼￼￼ Meaning, that we have a wreath on our dining room table and we light a candle for each week of Advent. So the first week of Advent we light one candle the second week of advent be like two candles and so forth. These candles are attribute it to the kingdoms: the mineral kingdom, the plant kingdom, the animal kingdom, and the human kingdom. Acknowledging the importance of each of these kingdoms in that the second kingdom cannot exist without the first the third without the second and so on. So on each Advent Sunday we gather to share a story about that particular kingdom and in general come together in a mood of creating reverence for what is not the solitary act of Christmas day but a whole season of inward preparation.￼￼
Now I am not Jewish not even a little bit, but I am lucky enough to be loved by quite a few people that are and I would be remiss if i failed to mention this holiday that I am blessed enough to participate in. I am all in for any reason to celebrate light in this world. And this is a holiday that honors that. I love the menorah and lightning the candles. I love having a reason to believe and have faith in the good and light in the world.
I personally love the celebration of Saint Nick. On 5th of December we gather our good shoes and we clean them. If they’re old and dirty we break out shoe polish and scrub them up and then we line them by the entryway door. Because our children are small I offer up a tangerine to fit in there teeny tiny shoes, a spray-painted golden walnut with a bell inside, and lastly A handwritten note from Saint Nick himself. Saint Nick always acknowledges an individual’s growth of the previous year and offers kind suggestions about personal growth for the year to come. I spend weeks thinking about what Saint Nick will write to each member of my household. Sure it is great to tell the kids to stop biting each other, but I think it’s more important that they feel seen and validated by individuals beyond their immediate family and knowing that they’re kind hearts shine through for anyone lucky enough to witness them. And I look forward to this tradition continuing to the point where my children can write letters to Saint Nick themselves.
The Shepards Play￼
The premise of the play is about the perspective of three Shepherd’s finding their way to the Christ child in Bethlehem. It is an old European play and it is a comedy. My children have gone to it every year, and my husband and I have both had acting parts in the play itself. However the point here is not for you all to go find the shepherds play (which I would imagine performances are few and far between in North America), the point is about finding a tradition. I think much more common would be the nutcracker as I know many people that attend that year after year. So find a local production of something that you and your family would enjoy and partake in it. Perhaps even offer to be a part of it and see the different joys that you get from the tradition if you change your relationship to it.
The Cutting of the Tree
As a child I distinctly remember the one year that we cut down a Christmas tree. I remember that there was hot cocoa brought in a thermos and I was filled with wonder and delight. I also distinctly remember my mother purchasing a fake tree and what little wonder and delight is created in the act of assembling your Christmas tree each year and fluffing out the greens in attempt to make it look more realistic. That being said I am all for cutting down ones own tree. ￼It is best done with a group of others who is also needing some holiday decor this enables the good times of snowball fights, caroling, and laughter.
Plus with a fresh tree you cut you get all the extra bits on the bottom that need to be cut off. With that extra bit of greenery yoy can make swatches to hang on your doors saving you the cost of a wreath. Which is why I always have extra seasonal ribbon lying around the house. Its a win win.
Meals With Family
Cook food and eat it with people you love. Its actually just that simple.
Christmas Eve Barn Sing
Each yeah we transform our barn into a winter wonderland. We clean out all the stalls, brush the animals, give the cows bells, decorate with greens and white Christmas lights, give everyone a candle and sing to the animals. It is 100% my favorite night of the year. I know not everyone has a barn full of animals and 100 people that want to come out in sub zero temperature and sing. So maybe just try caroling?
Now all you need to do is revel in the glory of all of your preparation of reverence and joy. Sneak down stairs early with the kiddos to see what Santa brought in the stockings before waking everyone up at 7 to open presents. Then a brunch of bagels and the fixings and if the weather is amicable sledding or a walk through the woods.