Tradition Habits

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A Custom Thanksgiving – Photo by Jordan Rowland on Unsplash

The holidays are here! Our Thanksgiving was peaceful and quiet. We did some eating and chatting. We rested and I shopped! But mostly we were grateful.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him, bless his name;
good indeed is the Lord,
His mercy endures forever, his faithfulness lasts through every generation
. [Psalm 100:4-5 NABRE*]

I didn’t leave my neighborhood for three days! It was wonderful. The princes dubbed the holiday the “Chill Thanksgiving.” After such a rocky year we needed to regroup as a family. We needed to give thanks for our blessings.

We allowed ourselves to let go of the traditional Thanksgiving. Now don’t get me wrong. I love Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas traditions. Oh! And all the other holidays, birthdays, anniversaries… This year we just didn’t have the energy for Thanksgiving. As the eldest prince put it, “We need some down-time Mom.”

We enjoyed our Thanksgiving dinner of gluten-free cauliflower crust pizza with a mini salad bar and homemade salad dressings. For desert, we enjoyed homemade gluten-free chocolate chip cookies with coffee. Some of my crew had to work. None of us had to cook! We connected and let ourselves breathe.

It was wonderful. Is this a new tradition? I don’t think so. I think we are rethinking how we do things. Our lives are in flux. I’ve expected this transition for a long time. I’m ready for it…Maybe…

As I am writing, I realized traditions begin because they hold seasonal “magic” for us. Then the traditions become habit. We end up saying something like “We do (fill in blank here) because it’s tradition!” This statement is a warning. It means tradition has become habit. The enjoyment is gone. So what do we humans do? See something someone else does with their family and think, I want that too. We add another tradition.

Zing! The excitement is back. Then, we don’t let go of the old traditions either (At least I don’t). I’ve been doing this all my adult life. I’ve been adding on traditions every few years for over three decades! The traditions have become a burden.

Why am I thinking about this? Maybe it has something to do with the book I’m reading. The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson.

The author explains the Swedish word Döstädning translated into English means death cleaning. In Sweden, Döstädning means removing unnecessary things and making your home orderly. Döstädning can be done for a loved one after they die, or for oneself during life. It is a gift for those who have to clean up after you are gone.

We as American’s are infamous for collecting everything. I looked around my home at all the things, eh-em…clutter, I need to go through. Today I find I also have been collecting traditions. I don’t think I’m the only one.

At one point in the book the author talks about things she loves. Sometimes these are just small silly items. She says we can enjoy the “things without owning them.” It may not be easy but, we can train ourselves to enjoy things by looking at them and not buying them.

Imagine enjoying a tradition in a family story, movie, television commercial, or history. Not recreating it every year but enjoying the idea in the moment. I’m not talking about a minimalist Christmas or an anti-New Year’s. I’m just saying we don’t have “do it all:” the dinner; decorate the house; get a tree; go to everyone’s celebration; yada, yada, yada! We can pick from year to year what we observe.

Maybe it’s about doing what you need or want to do to enjoy the season. Do the things that give you energy and uplift your spirit now. Not last year or next year, now. Do what works for you and your family this year. That’s what I plan to do.

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Christmas “Tree” Circa 2016 by Milly

A couple of years ago I didn’t want a tree. I did not put up lights. I did not take decorations down from the attic. I had a few festive touches from items that don’t get packed away or I bought. I just couldn’t do it.

This year I am thinking about getting a tree. I know I will observe my family’s tradition and not decorate until after December 17th. Why? December 17th is one of the Prince’s birthdays. We like to keep the holiday separate from his birthday holiday. I have some time to think about it. Best of all there is no wrong answer. Let’s enjoy celebrating the most Awesome God in the Universe and the good in our lives. That is truly what it is all about!

We are blessed here in Milly’s Realm. God bless you today!

Milly

*NABRE

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