62. Losing My Traditions

Christmas, Like Buddha

It’s Christmas again, and I want to say so soon, but the truth is I’ve seen this holiday marching up on us for months and am—for the most part—ready.

We are spending the holiday far away from family and friends again, just the two of us. And to be honest, it makes a pain in my heart that I couldn’t push away—again. After much pondering I realized (in a very buddhist idea) that what was causing my suffering was clinging.

Letting Go

I’ve been clinging to traditions that were meant for a large family, and trying to recreate them for two, and it hasn’t translated well. I’ve been a bit inflexible (without realizing it) about this inside. I had to have those traditions because I haven’t been able to have my  family close during these times. It made me feel connected to them. But this clinging also makes me feel lonely, because the traditions are meant to be shared with them.

So this year I decided to do a little letting go. I’m letting go of my traditions for the Christmas feast and activities. We’ve decorated (although I tried to get out of that too) and have a Christmas tree up. And I’ve sent out Christmas cards to family and friends. But any traditions that are specific to my family, I’m not doing. No Christmas Eve feast. Nothing special for Christmas dinner—no special foods, period. I’m not even buying presents for my hubby this year.

Trying Something New

But I am not a total Scrooge, far from it. I’m going to try some new things this year. A midnight Christmas Eve service, and a spin around a local Christmas festival on Christmas Day. Maybe a movie or hike. I’m going to try on being a family of two, with no regrets or clinging to traditions that just make me feel lonely. As Yoda would say, “Clinging, I am not.”

And of course, I’m celebrating the coming of the Christ Child. Heaven coming to Earth. God born as a baby in tumultuous, dangerous times. God becoming one of us so he could save us from our sins. And that is the real meaning behind all the traditions and family celebrations and (more lately in the last six or seven decades) the buying frenzy. No matter HOW I do it, or who I am doing it with, I am celebrating that real reason behind the season.

So I wish you all a Merry Christmas, dear readers, no matter how you are spending it, and who you are spending it with.

And echoing the immortal words of Charles Dickens’ Tiny Tim I say:

“God bless us, every one!”

2 thoughts on “62. Losing My Traditions

  1. Good for you Yoda! New things to do … and even these may not become traditions! Do what you both enjoy and skip the rest. Holidays are meant to delightful!!

    I’m lucky to have this intergenerational home as the little people bring back the magic. EVERY morning Mr. Almost Four asks “is today Christmas?” I made a Christmas countdown calendar with a tiny toy and an even tinier bit of candy each evening after dinner. AND … only bought them each 4 items. A book, an activity, an indoor toy and an outdoor toy. But each parent also got them 4+ gifts and Christmas Eve is with Grandma Laura and two uncles and a great grandma … we may be moving in January!

  2. Maribeth

    I love how you use every moment as an opportunity for personal growth. I can relate to the missing of traditions when they’re not happening, and the releasing of some; the creating of others; the learning to be in the moment. This year, for the first time in about 10 years, I will wake up Christmas morning with some little ones’ shrieks of joy for what Santa has lef them…creating a wonderful memory that may or may not ever be repeated. Happy Holidays to you both. We love and miss you!

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