Keeping Christmas Simple

We’ve taken a step toward a more traditional holiday this year. Our DIY Christmas tree has taken several different forms over the last few years–some of which barely resembled a tree at all–but the same idea was behind them all.  We wanted to use what we had to celebrate.  We wanted a holiday that focused on creative reuse rather than consumerism.  This year we were given a hand-me-down artificial tree, and we have a small collection of ornaments that have been gifted to us, so our tree is pretty traditional.

In keeping with the DIY spirit of our holiday, we made a few ornaments out of wrapping paper glued to cardboard.  A pre-publication copy (F&G) of Holly Hobbie’s new version of The Night Before Christmas made for a few cute ornaments in the same way.  They were simple enough for our almost six-year-old to do with minimal frustration, and I think they look charming too.



In all honesty, my favorite traditions are the ones that are different every year.  They are familiar without being tired.  They grow with us, but keep us grounded to our values.  That’s all I really want in a holiday.  More than elaborate decor or expensive presents, I want to spend time with the people I love, share what I have, and think about what we value.

May your holidays be full of love, hope, and happiness. :)

This blog will probably be fairly quiet this month, but you may check out previous years’ posts for more holiday related content:

Traditions & Rites of Passage

Creating new traditions has been a recurring theme on this blog from the holidays in December to Mother’s Day and even bedtime, so when “rites of passage” was chosen as a discussion theme for the new Humanist Parenting Group I recently joined, I found myself listening more than talking.  I am still sorting out what ritual means to us as a family.  It sounds too old-fashioned for us, but, really, we are suckers for all things sentimental.  And what could be more sentimental than spending the whole month of December in one on-going celebration of us?

The group conversation went from baby naming ceremonies to holidays and more.  I shared a tradition from my childhood of celebrating my parent’s anniversary as a family holiday with presents and special activities for everyone, and other families shared their plans for welcoming their baby and celebrating a life of an elderly relative.

I, of course, turned to books for ideas.  In The Book of New Family Traditions Meg Cox lists ten things rituals do for children.  Among them are providing a sense of identity, teaching values, and navigating change.  She writes, “The special power of ritual is that it can slow time and heighten our senses, and by doing so, we can intensify and deepen our family ties.”  Is that what our DIY Christmas trees do?  Here’s hoping…

Whether you are a sucker for sentiment or just interested in reading about families and culture, you might be interested in the bibliography I created for the group with books for kids and parents about traditions and milestones of all sorts.