In my early ones (years) the holidays were chock full of traditions. My late father was a minister of music at a large church and our christmases were decked with beautiful music all the way through. There were advent songs (To this day O Come O come Emmanuel is one of my favorites, keep yer smart a** comments to yourselves I am TRYING to be serious here), candle light services, Handel's Halleluia chorus, Caroling parties to nursing homes. I danced. So The Nutcracker was de rigueur. To this day nothing gets me in a bit of a holiday mood like the Dance of the Sugar Plum fairy.
My folks threw epic gatherings, full of home made food, cheap wine (these were small college professors), games, laughter, music and massive amounts of stressful planning and clean up.
After a month of this, we'd pack the whole shebang up and head to my grandparent's on the other side of the state of Kentucky where we'd indulge in long family card games, sitting around the fire not drinking alcohol because my blessed and saintly grandmother who is still alive and chatty at 98 years old will go to her grave believing that poison has not touched these lips. (I try not to imagine what would happen if she knew EVERYTHING I did). Huge breakfasts, lunches and dinners were launched, relatives greeted and played with, and the orgy of Christmas morning gift wrapping paper was, in a word, spectacular for a kid.
Still don't know how my folks pulled all that off.
In the way of young families, I used to do a lot of the same, minus the travel. I baked, dragged kids to church and ballet, decked our Crowe family halls within an inch of its life no matter what country it happened to be at the time and threw epic parties (see above).
Lately though, I've slipped. With all that goes on my life now (see: Beer Wench plus writer) I'm sitting here staring at a 2/3 decorated tree and a living room still full of unopened boxes of decorations. And the manger scene is still tucked into its special storage container.
I'm no grinch. I smile when I hear certain tunes and do love the Christmas Eve service at our church here.
But the realization that I have exactly zero presents bought much less wrapped reminds me that there are times that this whole holiday thing is one large pain in my rear end. Never fear. I shall rally, usually after my birthday which is this coming Saturday in case you'd forgotten. I am a notorious super last minute shopper. As far as I'm concerned I still have 2 weeks left! Talk about a glass half full gal, eh?
OH There goes Hans again (see Wench's Muse), trying to get me in the mood....might work, no?
Have the holidays become more or less meaningful to you? In what ways? Does it concern, or liberate you?