Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Changing Traditions

When my twenty-four-year-old son recently said, “This doesn’t feel like Christmas,” the title of a book by Thomas Wolfe, “You Can’t Go Home Again,” popped into my head. Although we did some decorating as well as some gift shopping and wrapping, the meager group of presents under the tree didn’t look like the gift pile of past Christmases.

“Welcome to Grown-Up-Land,” I replied. When the kids were little it took very few dollars to fill the space under the Christmas tree. Now that they’re grown and half of them have moved out, we have scaled way back and limit the presents to one per person. This benefits me the most, since the majority of the baking, decorating, shopping, and wrapping, always fell to me. Now I have a lot less stress during the holiday season!

With changing family dynamics comes a change in traditions. We got our tree up this year. It is pre-lit and there’s an angel at the top. In addition, there are three candy canes on the tree. Two of them look like mice. The rest of the decorations sat in a box at the foot of the tree until Christmas Eve. We (my husband Denis and I) just couldn’t figure out when to decorate the tree.

Back when our children were young, we decorated as a family. Denis strung the lights and then we hung our favorite ornaments. Finally we added the silver glass spherical ornaments. They really reflected a lot of light. All this while munching on homemade caramel corn; my grandmother’s recipe.

This year I wasn’t in the mood to make caramel corn for just the two of us. I can’t handle that much sugar. Neither of us need the calories. But it was more than that. It just didn’t feel right. So, we never really decorated the tree.

So it’s time to create some new traditions. Traditions for two. For now. Until, perhaps, when the time comes that our family dynamics change once again?

Have your traditions changed? How did you handle it? What did you do? Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

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