I couldn’t help myself. I have no self-control. I tried and tried and tried. But I just couldn’t wait.
I broke out the holiday music.
I know, I know … I haven’t even given Halloween and Thanksgiving their due respect. I never have, really. I am that zealot who lobbies for tree decoration as soon as I’m finished with my third piece of pumpkin pie after Thanksgiving dinner.
I feel this way because as a child, my family’s holiday traditions were plentiful and cherished. Of course I enjoyed the stockings and the presents – but looking back, it’s not the presents I remember. It’s the feeling I got during that time of year. The warming smell of gingerbread drifting from the kitchen. The songs sung while decorating the house. Drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows out of my special Christmas mug. Traipsing about in the woods with my dad in search of the tallest blue spruce – one that would barely fit in our house and would be sure to elicit eye-rolls and grumbles from my mother, a fan of the short and stocky tree.
As I consider the source of this wonderful feeling, I understand that it originates with my family’s own small, yet meaningful traditions – not with the decorations at the strip mall, not with those “feel cozy and buy this thing you don’t need” holiday commercials, and not even with the opening of gifts, lovely though they may be.
So I wonder … how do other families experience the holidays? How do they nurture that warm, holiday feeling? How do they make it special for their own children?
Let’s find out! Sign up for the first annual Holiday Traditions Exchange!
The Holiday Traditions Exchange is a swap that will incorporate craft, cultural sharing, and thoughtful reflection about what the holidays mean to your family. It’s an opportunity to celebrate all that is non-commercial in this holiday season – and an opportunity to adopt a new, fun tradition for your family’s holiday repertoire. Here’s what you have to do:
Let me know you want to participate. I will pair you with one swap partner. You will send your package to your partner, and this same partner will send a package to you. Hopefully, you will make a new friend in the process!
To your partner, you will send:
1.) One handmade holiday decoration. Decorations made from any kind of medium are acceptable – from fabric to yarn, paper to paint.
2.) Your favorite holiday recipe.
3.) A “Tradition” Tutorial. This is description of one of your family’s special holiday traditions. If needed, you should provide step by step instructions. (For example, if your family makes graham cracker candy houses each year, you would provide more concrete instructions.) You might also consider sending along a couple of photos of the tradition in action.
In addition, you could send a mix CD of your favorite holiday tunes, or a special book that is a seasonal classic in your family. Feel free to go above and beyond the three requirements, but please don’t skip! When putting together your package, think about the kind of package you would like to receive. The backbone of this whole exchange is that it should be meaningful and come from that tender place close to your heart.
Are you in?? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject Holiday Traditions Exchange 2007. No need to include your mailing address – once you receive your partner’s name, you can exchange your address with them directly.
The sign up deadline is Sunday, November 11th. Soon thereafter, you will receive an email from me with your partner’s name. It is then your responsibility to contact your partner, introduce yourself, and exchange mailing addresses.
Packages must be sent out by Monday, December 10th. If you are sending internationally, you might want to aim for an earlier mailing date. But wait!!! Before sending your package, be sure to take pics and post them to the Holiday Traditions Exchange 2007 Flickr Group!
I look forward to your emails, and I sincerely hope that this exchange will, in some way, make your holiday season a little merrier!
P.S. You can place the Holiday Traditions Exchange button in your sidebar by copying the following HTML code: