Around this time of year I always end up spending a few days trying to figure out how it's the holiday time again. It seems like I was just breathing a sigh of relief that all of the busyness and obligations of the season had passed, and here they are again. Down time is fleeting to begin with, and in the next month or so it will become nonexistent.
This year though, I'm trying to look at things a bit different. I'm trying to focus solely on making this a special time and meaningful time for Bean. Growing up I always LOVED this time of year and my goal is to create the same love for her. For me, the holidays have never been extravagant. Our family didn't have the money for that. But they meant something. They were a time when we all spent more time together, thought more about each other, and were genuinely thankful and aware of the good things that we had. My family was relatively religious also so we talked a lot about the religious meaning of the holiday and what we believed had been sacrificed for us. My mom also filled the holidays with special moments and traditions so that there was always something around the corner to look forward to. And as if that weren't enough, my grandfather brought the holiday to life in a very special way. He had such a vivid imagination and told all kinds of tall tales that I believed as a child and just enjoyed as a young adult. According to him he worked for Santa and was the first in line to take over if anything were to happen to him. There are moments when I still feel like that's where he is now. He passed away almost ten years ago, but I still feel him at this time of year and I still remember every tale he ever told.
It's hard to figure out how to pass that joy and love that I have for the holidays on to Bean. She has to experience it for herself and it isn't going to be the same. I don't want her to regard this time of year as simply a time to get what you desire. I want her to see it as I do, as magical, as a time to show others how much you appreciate them, and a time to really reflect on the big and little things in life that there are to be thankful for. Somehow in my own family, that has been a little lost in recent years. The hardship and difficulties have over taken the joy and thankfulness. The holidays have become about obligation and neccesity. I almost hated to see them come.
Last year was a little better. It was hard not to just feel thankfulness and love this time last year as it was Bean's first with us. This year it's even easier in a way. We've started to get the hang of being parents, and being a little family. Bean understands so much more. It's time to start making it all real and special. It's time to build the meaning and magic into her life, and I'm excited to do that.
So with all of that, I have a challenge for myself and a challenge for you, if you're willing. The challenge for myself is to not let the stress and obligation of the holidays get to me this year. To focus on the real meaning of it all and all the reasons that I have to be joyful. So starting this Thursday, on Thanksgiving, I'm going to try to blog everyday about something that I'm thankful for, or that brings me joy, big or small. My challenge to you is to tell me what your favorite part of the holiday season is. What are your favorite traditions and memories? How do you keep from letting it become overwhelming? I love hearing what makes this time of year extra special to other people and I can't wait to hear from you!