03 December 2014

December Traditions

It's December already and we've actually had a snowfall (it's southern BC, we don't get a lot of that). I took E. out in the snow while J. was putting the snow tires on our car. She was not entirely thrilled with the whole thing. Snow is cold and slippery. She can't go as fast as she wants, and she has the added indignity of being stuffed into a snowsuit. It may take a little while for her to come around.

I, on the other hand, love snow. Sure, it's cold and wet, but it's beautiful and it feels magical. We're spending Christmas up north with my in-laws this year, which pretty much guarantees a white Christmas (though that also means a sub-zero Christmas so we won't be out in the snow very much, especially with E.). We're starting to figure out Christmas presents. J.'s work Christmas party is this weekend, and the Christmas potluck we usually do is next weekend.

E. is fascinated by Christmas lights and wants to see them up close (which is why we don't have any up, otherwise she'd be climbing more things). She likes our tree, which is up well out of reach. She thinks the Nativity scene people are "dolls" and wants to play with them. They are also out of reach, because they are breakable. Next year at my parents', she can play with their Playmobil Nativity. I'm sure she'll be very excited about presents, though I think she'll still be more entranced by the paper than the toys. There's something very wonderful about watching a child discover Christmas, about figuring out which traditions we'll have for her, which parts of Christmas we want to impart to our daughter.

We don't do Santa. We don't do Elf on the Shelf (which is just plain creepy, I think). We won't be doing massive amounts of presents, because we simply don't have the money and don't think it's wise to culture those kinds of expectations. We decorate, but not a lot. A tiny tree, a few other ornaments here and there, a Nativity set I made in ceramics class when I was seventeen which consists of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus in the manger.

I love Christmas movies, Christmas music. I don't play them all the time, but we do have them around. We have the grown-up movies, like The Family Stone and Love Actually, the classics like White Christmas and Holiday Inn, and some kid's ones, like the claymation Rudolph. At Christmas I pull out the Fred Penner Christmas album, followed by Pink Martini's Christmas album, and a few others that fall into the category of having at least a few different songs than the ones being played at the mall. I also get out a episode of This American Life. This segment in particular:



It appeals to both my cynicism about and my love of Christmas at the same time. We also listen to David Sedaris at Christmas time.

So far, our Christmas traditions reflect a blend of the religious and the secular, like a lot of people's do. Trees and Advent wreaths. Church services and presents. It's an odd balance some days. And some days it feels just right.

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