It’s hard to believe Christmas is only three weeks away. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa or Hannukah, are you caught up in pre-holiday stress, or are you taking the time to savor the season? In these stress-filled times, making time for holiday traditions is more important than ever.
Holiday traditions are a way to mark the passage of the season. They give us the comfort of knowing that in this world of constant change, some things don’t have to change.
Most of my holiday traditions date back to my childhood, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this. And of course, a lot of my holiday traditions revolve around my cats. Here are some of my favorites:
Setting up the Christmas tree. I decorate my tree with ornaments I have collected over the years. Of course, many, if not most of them, are cat-themed! Getting the carefully wrapped ornaments out of their boxes always brings back lovely memories. I have a silver bell that was on the Christmas trees of my childhood as far back as I can remember. Since there’s so much sentimental value attached to this particular ornamnet, it’s staying in its box this year. Ruby and Allegra have been very good with the tree, but I don’t trust them enough to chance it. Other ornaments were gifts from friends, or items I picked up while traveling.
Special holiday foods. Even after more than 25 years in the US, I still crave German Christmas cookies and candies. Even though I have all of my mother’s recipes, I’m not much of a baker, so each year, I place my annual holiday order for German Lebkuchen, marzipan, Zimtsterne, and other goodies, from Germandeli.com.
Time to reflect. Quiet time is important to me all year long, but never more so than during the holidays. As a child in Germany, we had an Advent’s wreath, and each evening, we would light the appropriate number of candles and spend half an hour or so singing Christmas carols, or my parents would read out loud to me from Christmas books (favorite story: The Gift of the Magi). With two active cats, I don’t have lit candles in my house, but I carry on this tradition by sitting by my Christmas tree each evening meditating, usually with a cat in my lap. I save the singing for when I’m in the car – Allegra and Ruby have made it pretty clear what they think of my abilities in that area.
Spending time with family and friends. In my case, my friends are my family. I’m not much of a holiday party girl, but I enjoy quiet get togethers with friends over a nice meal. One special holiday treat this year will be afternoon tea at the elegant Willard Hotel in Washington, DC.
What are some of your favorite holiday traditions? Please share in a comment!