I’ve been trying to get into the Christmas spirit for weeks. In mid-November, much to his surprise, I started recording Christmas movies on my dad’s PVR so I could watch them in December. I also made him get his Christmas tree early (on November 28th, to be exact) and strung around the lights, so he could catch a glimmer of it before he left for sea. I’ve listened to all my favourite Christmas albums – including the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack, which I’ve listened to multiple times while working. And I’ve gone on a couple drives around the city, to check out some of the best light displays.
Still, despite my best attempts, I have to say… it doesn’t feel like Christmas is here. I don’t know what’s caused it to lose its magic or sparkle on me. Maybe it’s the fact that there are no surprises anymore? Or that we don’t have any young kids in our family to make it more fun? It could simply be that my brother, sister and I are adults now, and we’ve all jumped on the minimalist Christmas bandwagon, which still feels so new to us even though it’s now our second year doing it. Yes, that’s probably it – we are still navigating this “new” holiday, and trying to figure out what it looks like for everyone.
There are some traditions we’ve had for years that we plan to keep: like watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on Christmas Eve (tonight!), making a big breakfast tomorrow, and taking the dogs for a long walk after we put the turkey in the oven. We’ll also have the same family members over for dinner, and keep our open door policy for visitors throughout the day.
But what’s exciting about getting older and changing our thoughts around what this holiday means to us is that it also opens up space for us to create new traditions. Last year, we opted to open our few gifts in the morning and then not touch our stockings until right before dinner; this is something we’ve agreed to do again tomorrow. This year, I purchased a gift for the whole family (a board game) and know that, at the very least, my brother, sister and I will play after dinner. The tradition doesn’t need to include a new game each year – we can just play this one and that will be wonderful.
While trying to figure out what the holidays will look like now, it helps having new friends who already practice the same ideas we have. Many of them only give gifts they’ve made themselves, which inspired a few of my own gifts this year. Then there are my friends Paul and Lisa, who don’t celebrate Christmas at all, but still invited a few of us over for a big home-cooked vegan dinner last weekend. There is truly nothing better than getting people around a table, eating good food, chatting and making new memories – and that’s surely what our Christmas will look like tomorrow, and for all years to come.
So, it still doesn’t feel like Christmas yet and the magic of it seems to be gone… but maybe that’s ok. Maybe every year will feel like this, now that we’re a family of adults who don’t care about gifts. Maybe the sparkle will simply be the food and the good conversations that happen around our dinner table. And maybe that’s enough! …or maybe I’ll turn on Rudolph tonight and it’ll all come back to me. :)
Either way, I’m taking the next few days off to get some space from the online world, laze around with my family, and then maybe squeeze in a short hike or two. I have three posts drafted for next week, so we’ll talk again soon, friends! Until then, I hope the holiday spirit is within you, and that you all have a wonderful few days with your loved ones.