Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Having Problems with New Holiday Rituals

There I said it. I am having serious problems this year with making this "holiday season" meaningful and magical for me and my family.

Partly because I am choking on the daily demands of parenting and being a householder, while looking after other people's kids, teaching yoga, working part-time at night, and overall trying to be a decent person, friend, and relative.

Partly because I have spent too much time seeing all the other brilliant Holiday traditions other families are doing.

Partly because I feel completely overwhelmed with Christmas decor and music everywhere I go and want a sacred space away from it.

Partly because I know my son is old enough to remember what happens this time of year, so we need to amp up our "holiday game." I want to make this time of year special for him and start traditions that will bring joy to our family! *Oh the self-inflicted pressure*

Partly because the very thought of Christmas makes me want to run and hide. Christmas  makes me think very ill thoughts about commercialism, over-consumption, and marketing.

Partly because of the stress from the very thought of the very humble amount of buying I need to do for the perfect thoughtful gift (due to my own pressure on myself) and pressure to spend more than I have. Then I have to figure out how the heck find time and energy to actually buy presents. I hate shopping! Thank goodness for shopping online!

I am so overwhelmed by the pressures of our modern "Christmas culture", and bombarded with my own negative associations with Christmas. I want so badly to create new meaningful traditions with my own family, but I know I have to get past my own hang ups.

I know I  need to focus less on the negative, and more on the positive in order to get me through this season without throwing my head in the sand.

For us, this time should be about honoring the everlasting "light of life," like the evergreen tree symbolizes. The sun may be "dying" in the darkest days of the year, but lets celebrate the rebirth of the sun, and honor the light in our lives, and nurture the ever-lasting light within.

It means a time for less work and more play. 

It means a time for connection and honoring of loved ones and friends and community.

I LOVE how others get so into Christmas and gain so much joy out of their family rituals and traditions, and get even more excited when they have kids to share it with. I want that for our family too.

But we are so darn complicated and unique. It going to be a bit of trial and error to figure out what is going to make this family's holiday magical and meaningful.

It means saying no to pictures with Santa in the mall. *shutter*

It means saying no to Elf on the Shelf.

It means playing down the presents part of Christmas, and ramping up the "special day with family" part.

It means not talking obsessively about Santa and watching every television show ever made about Christmas. I really hate lying to my son about Santa, but I do like him to experience the magic of it. So I prefer to not talk   about it so much. Also, Santa is all about presents, and that leads me down a dark hole of materialistic consumption.

I know a lot about what this holiday season doesn't include. But I need to work more on what it does include. For us so far it includes:

Making a gingerbread house together as a family, and as a family, join together in experiencing mad sugar lust and evil thoughts of eating the cute sugar-people. (BTW - cheated and bought the box kit. But it was perfect for us, and cuter than I could do with less work.)

Putting lights up on our house. Maybe, if it ever stops raining. My son wanted lights on our house, and it felt okay for us.

A little real evergreen tree with simple home-made decorations, and some lights.

Creating special moments at holiday parties with friends at school, and our social and work community.

Reconnecting to nature and all that it offers this time of year. Going out together and cutting down the evergreen tree.

Through story, educating the children in my life about how special this time of year is with the sun's rebirth. Retelling a magical story called Raven Brings the Light for children and adults and doing yoga pose to act out the story.

The rest of the traditions I suppose with come. I think first I need to let go of the pressure on myself to make it have to be amazing and perfect this year. I need to just call it a work in process, and do my best with my VERY LIMITED resources.

1 comment:

  1. I also really get the stress of separating this holiday season from the insanity of capitalist consumption. I was so happy last year when we were at Target and Joyce asked me, "Mom who's this guy with the beard?" referring to some wrapping paper with Santa on it. This year though it's like we can't escape it. We have made it part of our Santa story to leave gifts so Santa can bring them to other people. Part of our Christmas preparation this year is planning what toys we can leave under the tree for him to take. It was really fun when Joyce was going through every toy in our house and piling them up under the tree ready to give them away (of course also with the hopes of getting a few new ones) but at least it will be a giving and receiving thing and not just receiving.

    We love the Raven Brings the Light story - especially Gerald McDermott's illustrated version. I would love to learn from you the yoga poses to act it out. It's a beautiful story.