But…it’s tradition

A post on my cousin’s blog today got me to thinking.  She was – – rightfully – – lamenting the materialism of the holiday season.  You know…that sickness that starts going around a month or two before Christmas…”the gimmes.”

Thankfully, I was blessed with two boys who have never had severe cases of the illness.  Occasionally I’ve even had to BEG my eldest to tell me something he might want for Christmas because he would just say “Mom, I really don’t need anything.  I’ve got everything I want already.” 

This year was a case in point.  I would give him suggestions, and he would shoot them down.  I’d lay out catalogs, hoping to inspire him, and he would never even pick them up.  I even tried to get clues from conversation, but he never let on to much of anything that he was wishing for.  Finally, after enough pestering, he just told me to surprise him. 

I went through the holiday prep a little more down in the dumps than usual, because it had occurred to me that maybe his lack of interest in gifts meant that he had “aged out” of the Christmas spirit.  I dutifully picked out things I thought he might enjoy, but it wasn’t quite the same.  It felt like my baby boy was altogether too big for his britches (and it was only last week that he was wearing Christmas onesies for cryin’ out loud!).

So imagine my surprise when he woke up one morning a few days before Christmas and practically bounded out of bed.  “I am SO excited!” he declared.

“About what?” I asked, confused.

“Christmas, of course!”

“But you don’t even know what you are getting?”

“I know! I’m going to be surprised!!  And it is going to be so awesome to get to do our Christmas breakfast, and open presents, and spend the day together as a family.”

Wow.  Here I had been bemoaning his lack of Christmas spirit, and he might have been the one with the truest spirit of all.  It wasn’t what he got that mattered to him – – it was how he got it.  The traditions that surround the getting. 

boy at christmas Sometimes, it’s the seeing the pretty wrapped presents under the tree, and handing them out, and tearing into the crisp paper, and squealing with glee and sharing that moment with our loved ones that brings us more joy than what is actually inside the package. 

We humans crave tradition, and the holiday season provides a boatload of opportunities to fulfill those urges.  For our family, that includes watching “The Christmas Story” as we trim the tree, volunteering on Christmas Eve at the homeless shelter where my hubby works, having gingerbread waffles for Christmas breakfast, and buying an ornament for each of the boys the day after Christmas that celebrates what they have been interested in during the previous year.  These are our touchstones.  And they are way more important to us than any new gadget, gizmo, or bejeweled trinket could ever be. (And if you know me, that is saying a LOT)

Hope your traditions brought you as much joy this holiday season as they did us.  Feel like sharing one of your favorites in the comment section??

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2 Responses

  1. Our traditions is an “anything goes” mentality, LOL. We try to focus on getting as much family together as possible since we all have such different and sporadic lives. If we can get everyone to sit in the same room for 60 consecutive minutes, then we have SUCCESS! This year my Mom insisted on going out of town, but my Dad, who usually boycotts all holidays, actually showed up. That was the best Christmas gift he could have given me. Yipee!

  2. So your son hasn’t been raised to be a consumer? Great for him, but salespeople will forever be annoyed by his lack of the gimmes ;D

    We have certain movies that we watch every year like White Christmas, Scrooged, Christmas Vacation, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, etc. Mike and I also have our non-traditional Christmas movies like Die Hard (hey – it takes place during a Christmas party, so it counts!)

    We’ll pile in the car in our jammies, go to Starbucks for hot cocoa, and drive around to look at Christmas lights. Unfortunately, due to the ton of snow that was dumped this year, we were pretty snowed in and didn’t get to do this.

    We have our big dinner on Christmas Eve, ’cause I don’t want to spend half of Christmas in the kitchen 🙂 In the morning, we all do our stockings first, which always include lottery scratch offs. Even Cody’s stocking (shh – don’t tell anyone!) After the gifts, Mike makes pancakes for breakfast. But gingerbread waffles sound good – care to share the recipe?

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