While we were gathered with a group of our closest friends last night for dinner, we were talking about holiday traditions. A few of the gals were telling stories of the well thought-out, elaborate traditions they carry out with their families each year. While others, were feeling a little less “successful” at mothering for not planning these types of experiences for their families every year. I woke up thinking about that this morning.
We don’t have a lot of fancy Christmas traditions in our house.
We buy a real tree, haul it home on the top of the car and decorate it together. We have cookie jar that we fill with Gingersnap cookies (straight from the bag) just like my mother did. We set up the same nativity sets we’ve had since the boys were born. We have an elf who flies around carrying correspondence back and forth each night with (a very weary) Santa. We have an advent wreath that we try to remember to light on Sundays.
My favorite tradition of all is inside one of the big gray bins that get’s pulled down from the attic.
It’s the bin of our Christmas stories. The boys get to pick a story each night and we huddle up to read it together. We read all kinds of stories from our old “The Night Before Christmas” worn out pop-up book that’s barely holding together, to “The Legend of Saint Nicholas”. Some are funny little stories about things like gingerbread men who come to life as pirates on a sailing gingerbread ship. Others are the stories of our faith, that celebrate the birth of the Messiah. Some make us all laugh. Some make mama cry.
Every. Single. Time.
Like the very special one called, “Papa’s Gift“. Oooh it’s a good one. It’s a story of love and loss between a little girl and her grandpa, who were the best of friends. He taught her how to make snow chickens and snow flake sandwiches. He slipped her peppermints in church and gave her extra spoonfuls of sugar on her cereal, when no one was looking. He told her stories in his creaky old rocking chair. But most of all, Papa taught Clara that some things in life can’t be seen with your eyes.
They must be seen with your heart.
I think that’s the whole point. Holiday traditions are wonderful and every family celebrates differently. I hope today, you’ll take comfort in knowing that your holiday traditions don’t need to be elaborately planned, time-consuming, or expensive to be remembered in your kid’s hearts. They can be small things like peppermints, snow chickens, store-bought cookies and stories passed down from generation to generation. They are moments with a time stamp, that will always be remembered by the heart.
So if you’re feeling a little less-than-good-enough when you look at your Instagram or Facebook feed, think again Mama.
It’s the small, intentional moments of connection that matter most.
Those are the moments that build a lifetime of memories.
They’re the moments that will always be seen with the heart.
You’re doing just fine.
to more love,