Our Mindful Holidays

Welcome to the December Carnival of Natural Parenting: Let’s Talk Traditions

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama.

Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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With small children, a lot of people I know are talking about traditions, and what makes the holidays special for them. I have been thinking about this a lot lately, and about my family’s perception of the holidays, and how we celebrate. We have several traditions, though I didn’t think of them as traditions until I started really thinking on what our traditions are.

We decorate for the holidays. We decorate for pretty much every holiday. At Valentine’s Day, we make construction paper Valentines and hearts for our friends and family and put them around the house. We put bunnies and colored eggs and spring time things out at Easter. For Fourth of July, we don our red, white and blue, put up lights on the porch, and wave our flags. For birthdays, we hang cards on a door until the entire door is covered. At Halloween, we pull out the spooky spookies and put them all over the house and yard. At Thanksgiving, we put out gourds, pumpkins, and our fall colors. For Christmas, we put up the tree and the stockings, fill the mantle with our holiday village and many snowman, candles, angels, and Santas. We spread the cheer around the house, hang the holiday cards from the door, and play Christmas music.

We make decorations ourselves. We do all of our decorating for not much money, save decorations from year to year, and work with what we have on hand. At Halloween this year, we made a graveyard in our front yard using paving blocks we had leftover from a landscaping project. We made construction paper and cardboard decorations. We painted and glued. We made a Halloween tree centerpiece for our table by painting black a branch found in the yard. We made construction paper ornaments for it and hung them from strings. For Christmas, so far, we have made ornaments for a handmade ornament swap with our friends, and painted winter/holiday stencils on our dining room windows with acrylic paint.

We make handmade gifts for those we love. Instead of buying gifts for the majority of our loved ones, we make them by hand. Creating something with love is a way of giving someone something that holds your love it in all year long.

We tell stories. We tell our children holiday and age appropriate stories. For Christmas, we go for the stand-bys like Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and Twas the Night Before Christmas, along with personal holiday stories, such as that Daddy gave me my engagement ring on Christmas a long time ago, before we had a Bean and a Bug.

We encourage magic. We encourage our children to believe in magic, love, and hope. We feed them on the stories and dreams that help them to evolve magic in themselves.

We encourage giving. We talk about people who don’t have as much as we do. We give clothing and household items we no longer need to people who do need and would use them, by taking them to the battered women’s shelter, giving them directly to people who are homeless, or giving them away on Freecycle, etc. We give gifts to one another and those we love. One of my famous sayings has become, “I hate to think that we have so little that we can’t share some with those we love the most.”

We encourage delayed gratification. We know that we will be getting gifts for Christmas, and as our children think of things they want, we encourage them to wait until after Christmas to see if they either get what they want, or get something that they might enjoy more or be able to use for the same purpose. We also delay our own purchases until afterwards to see if they are truly necessary.

We focus on the positive. We avoid blue Christmases, scary Halloweens, cynicism, fear, or stress. We just focus on love, encouragement, happiness, and the joy that we get to be with one another. We spend time with those we have in a capacity we can – my mother has been enjoying reading bedtime stories to my kids from 600 miles away. We are grateful for what we have. We do not dwell on what we have not.

So, it turns out that my family has many more traditions than I had imagined starting out! They may not involve baking, caroling, or volunteering at a soup kitchen, but they are what we have created together and they are just perfect for our family!

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

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8 thoughts on “Our Mindful Holidays

  1. I love the inclusion of personal holiday stories! My DH and I were on our honeymoon for our marriage’s first Christmas. We can tell our wedding story to DD when she’s a little older (this will be her first Christmas) :-)Found you via the carnival. Thanks for the good read!

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  2. I wish I could have written this, but as I noted in my carnival piece, I am just getting up to speed, especially with decorations. Thanks for reminding me what’s possible. What lucky kids you have!

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  3. Sounds like such a nice way of celebrating and providing a sense of annual rhythm, especially all of those homemade decorations! We do decorate for Christmas and are slowly adding in other holidays. It’s been fun!

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  4. I really love your post and your good ideas. Making decorations is so meaningful, and I love how creative you’ve been. I also like the idea of telling seasonal stories; I’ll have to think about how to incorporate that one. I’m getting so many good ideas from this carnival! 🙂

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  5. I love your post. We made home-made gingerbread men shaped lavender pouches for our friends’ and relatives’ wardrobes this year, and I think DIY gifts are a great tradition to keep up. You sound so positive. Being together and sharing love is really what the holiday season should be about!

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