Tuesday, December 9, 2014

"Tradition!" (said while humming Fiddler on the Roof)

Whatever your beliefs, the Season is upon us, like it or not, and it's here with its many traditions.

I was brought up in a little Mennonite church, in a small town in Ohio. My family had lived there for generations. Therefore, my life was wrought with tradition, most of which I challenged, and much to my grandparent's and parent's chagrin. Some traditions made no sense and didn't 'catch', but others slipped in, binding with my brain and heart, and demanding to be observed this time of year. Combine them with my husband's, those our family adopted, and a Moravian community saturated in them, and we have one really patch-worked holiday here! If marriage isn't a compromise, the holidays are!

Start with the fundamental question of white lights vs. colored lights. Colors were used for the outside where I grew up, if anything, and white lights inside. Not in dear husband's world. He wanted multi-colored lights with my handmade Victorian ornaments the first year! We eventually wound up with multiple trees in the house to satisfy everyone's taste. A few years ago I found a silver tinsel tree with large jewel-toned bulbs, and covered in white lights. It was a Christmas splurge, and I snapped it up. I was pleasing my inner child that had spent hours lying under our own giant tinsel tree set in a base rotating the lights from pale blue, lime green, rose, and sunny yellow. Really, I just loved colored lights! (Just not red, blue, green, etc.) I have a mix of old Shiny Brite balls from  mine and my husband's childhood to grace the tree. It's finally a perfect compromise. On the top I add the fragile glass church and Santa Claus that my mother gave me from her childhood. I call her to tell her I'm hanging them, and she looks to make sure they're there each year.

I got the tree out yesterday, and thought I would have some lovely pictures to show you of it all decorated, but true to the season, the lights need a little work. I'm sure a fuse is blown, and that's not my area. Perhaps tomorrow.

One tradition that my daughter, Bailey, and I have done over the years is make Little Glitter Houses together. It's become one of our traditions, and it started when she was in college, and our time together was rare. We've done quite a few over the years, and I love the Christmas kitsh look. I remember making them each December when I get them out.

I hope you're working on your handmade holiday gifts, while baking and decorating along the way. Just a little more than 2 weeks until Christmas here. I have some surprises left to both start and finish, and some are not safe to share here.

Take time out this week to be still, remember why you celebrate your holiday, and embrace or create tradition for your family and friends. Make it purposeful and special. Declare to your kids or grandchildren that this is your family's tradition, even if it's just an evening to all pile in the car, and look at the lights in town. Don't be thinking of everything you need to dot! Be present. Be there in the moment. As we get older, we come to realize that the traditions we pass on have little to do with the actual physical things played out in them, but instead, it's the feeling we get while we're doing them. Being together, happiness, the emotional bond--that's what gets passed on. You may be surprised when generations after you follow the very same one because you made it special. That is a true gift of Joy, and one we should all hope to give.

The Doxie Girls and I are crossing things off our list today.
Come on, Doxie Girls.
Let's go sew.


Unknown said...

I love your little 'glitter houses' -- a nice tradition. Your thoughts expressed will certainly help us all to focus on 'being present' to the present moments. So important. Thanks for the gift of knowing YOU!

Julie said...

Thank you, Irene. The glitter houses started as my own little thing, then Bailey wanted to make them, too. I have some more to photograph--another day before Christmas.

I work hard at being 'present'. It was actually tougher when all the kids were little. It's like sucking the marrow from the bone, so to speak. It's made life richer for me, and I appreciate 'the moments'.

And just so you know, you are one person who inspires me with all you do and give. So glad we met on my quilt journey.