A Year of Gifts
Heading into the week of Christmas, I am broken hearted. Beautiful twinkling lights and the soothing sound of carols aren’t enough to lift my spirits. The loss is still too fresh, the feelings too raw. But despite the ache, I know our many family traditions will help brighten the days ahead. Even thinking about the many things we love to do together during the holidays helps bring a smile to my face. Times like this remind me of the value of building and maintaining traditions. Traditions offer a base of comfort and stability in an ever-turbulent world.
We always kick off the holidays with massive decorating efforts and this year was no exception. Growing up, Mom always put time and energy into making sure our home was beautifully decorated for Christmas. I could never skimp on the decorations. Even if I wanted to, our kids wouldn’t allow it. Instead of doing less decorating this year, we planned ahead. I used to wait and decorate right after Thanksgiving but now we get it done earlier. Yes, we are that family. My husband tried to convince me not to turn the lights on too soon. He didn't want our neighbors to see how early we put up our decorations this year.
Some years I’m inspired to create handmade gifts. These are often the gifts people remember. One year, I made simple pillowcases for all the kids. I used the softest fabric I could find in colors I thought each would appreciate. I love it when one of them tells me it’s still their favorite. This year, I’m excited so many of my friends, family and even complete strangers are giving my book to their friends and loved ones as a gift. My reach has expanded!
In our house, the holidays wouldn’t be complete without plenty of sappy Christmas movies playing on the television as we bake and wrap gifts. We’ve already watched Elf, The Polar Express, and as many of the new Hallmark movies as we could squeeze in. I’m still hoping I’ll be able to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life”. I’ll just have to keep a box of Kleenex close at hand.
December also means baking sweets and treats. The peanut-butter cookies with the chocolate stars are done, as are the spritz cookies. We’ll still find time yet to bake the cut-out sugar cookies and create edible masterpieces with our powdered sugar icing. This year, I’ll also try my hand at the chocolate frosted cookies. Mom mastered them once she figured out that one secret ingredient missing from the recipe Grandma passed down. Fingers crossed that I can get close since they are a holiday staple.
I love opening all the holiday cards we receive from family and friends. It’s fun to see how kids have grown and to read the uplifting snippets people chose to share. Our box of cards still sits on the dining room table. I ponder how to handle our Christmas greetings, compiled the weekend of Thanksgiving, before heaven gained another angel.
We’ll gather with family in celebration. Gifts will be exchanged. Games will be played. We may even go sledding if the weather cooperates. We will attend Mass to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.
We will do our best to enjoy this blessed holiday season because that is what she would want us to do.
Now it's your turn. Please make the time to celebrate those traditions you hold most dear, even if you haven’t thought about some of them in years. Traditions can add depth and texture to your days. Maybe now is even the time to start a new tradition. Strengthen your own foundation.
I would love to hear about your favorite traditions. Please share below.
Happy holidays from our home to yours, Kim
Kimberly Diede Author
Hello everyone and welcome to my blog! My name is Kimberly Diede and I'm a fiction author and family girl. When time permits, I am happiest with a great cup of coffee in one hand and a book in the other. I love to alternate between reading and writing. Winters here can be long, dark and cold. Summers are unpredictable, lovely and always too short. Every season of the year, as in every season of life, is a gift. Let's celebrate it together!