Maybe I sound a little cliché, but aren’t holiday lights magical? We have finished decorating the indoor space of the house, and every morning now I get to wake up and turn them all on when everyone else is asleep and it just warms my heart. I don’t love waking up at 5:00am for work, but it’s a little extra piece of happiness added to my morning routine.
It brings me back to Episode Four of the podcast, all about childhood nostalgia. Man, there is something so special when you own your own home as an adult and can bring back some of those special things you felt and did as a child. My Mom was always the Tree Decorating Master; she always made that time of year so warm, cozy, and special. That’s not to mention the normal excitement for Christmas morning and the thought of Santa Claus finding his way to you in his sleigh. I still remember that feeling where I couldn’t sleep because I was just TOO excited for the joy of the morning.
As a child, I never wanted to spoil anything. I didn’t hunt for presents. I didn’t want to “catch Santa” doing this thing. I just wanted to go to bed so that, when I woke up, it would be Christmas and my family and I could spend the morning exchanging gifts and doing the traditions we did every year. Every year before Christmas unwrapping ensued, my mom always insisted that she had to have her morning tea in hand and be snuggled in on the couch. Literally the longest 5-6 minutes of my life was waiting for that tea to brew. I HATED it as a child–my patience did not exist on Christmas day. Looking back on that now, I am laughing to myself because I will TOTALLY be this way with my coffee when Kyle and I have children.
I think it’s so special to continue cherished memories like this. It isn’t a must, but I often think of it as family traditions that can be passed on which mean so much more than inheritance or money. They keep our loved ones alive, even when they are no longer with us. The interesting thing about my family is that our extended family didn’t have much of an impact on me as a child. I enjoyed spending time with my grandmother and swimming in her pool, but my immediate family was so tight-knit–and there was a lot of destructiveness outside of it–that the four of us created special traditions that were brand new, not carried on from anywhere. That’s what I remember most as a child. I know that we spent holiday time elsewhere, but for me, it was our home and our traditions that stick with me after all this time.
Since my parents divorced, both of them moved out of my childhood home, and Kira (my sister) and I have spread our wings in different directions, I can’t help but want to hold on to the little things that meant so much to me. It’s been many years since things changed (and they continue to do so) so I hold no sadness attached to those memories anymore. What I have found left in its place are ideas of ways I can bring that feeling of magic to my home for my eventual children, and remind myself that Kyle and I will be building new traditions as well.
It isn’t about the perfection of the family, or the nostalgic memories, or how everyone went “tra la la” into the sunset. What it IS about is finding the BEST things about any circumstance or situation and finding a way to carry that on as you go through life. There is no such thing as a perfect life and for many, so many, life is far from it. But within any life there are happy moments and happy memories and those should be the ones we cling to. Learn and draw strength from the times that were not happy, and bask in the moments that were.
I carry on the traditions of goodness, and warmth, and bring new ones that I hope my children will want to pass on. Hopefully, they’ll carry on those traditions for no other reason than that they brought them warmth and happiness once, and they want to spread it around too.
Just like my mom decorated our Christmas tree to perfection, I do so now. I take major pride in how beautiful it looks and I know she did too. With the holiday lights shining and the magic of the old and the new surrounding me, I am going into this holiday season knowing that I am blessed to experience so much joy from the little moments in my life that meant so much.