Tomorrow we load up the car, the kids, the dog, the rabbit, and Christmas (at least on our end) and we head to Maryland for five days. When I turned on the Christmas tree this morning, and we lit the Christmas village on the buffet this evening, I thought about how when we next see all our wonderful decorations Christmas will be over. We’ll still keep everything up until after New Year’s, but decorations always lose a little of their magic after Christmas–some of the sparkle is diminished once the holiday is over.

I always have mixed feelings about traveling for Christmas. A part of me longs to wake up in our own house, and have the kids tumble downstairs to find their presents and stockings. I want to make a pan of cinnamon rolls, as I did that one Christmas when we spent it at home (the December right before T. was born. Being heavily pregnant grants you the right to stay home), and a pot of coffee–in my own kitchen. I want to craft the morning and the day for my kids the way I want it. But I am always torn; the one year we did stay here for the holiday I missed my family. It was sad to think about Christmas going on without us. If my family would revision the Christmas celebration, perhaps creating new traditions to replace or build on the old, then there would be a way for us to have the best of both worlds.

I think one of the best gifts you can give your children is to free them to revision their holidays. Teach them to preserve the importance of family traditions–ones handed down from great-grandparents to grandparents, to parents, to children, but free them to build their own new ones around the old, like the layers of a shell added to the central design, the core. I hope when I’m older, and my kids are out on their own, that they will want to come back to some of the traditions that have been important to our family of four, but that they will feel free to birth new ones, too, and that I will be proud and accepting of that.

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