Wednesday, November 9, 2011

(Guest Blogger: E) Holi-daze

Hiya!  I'm E from Jet's Journey.  I'm a (semi-regular) blogger who chronicles my life's adventures, including my newest obsession J, my 7 month old baby boy.  I am beyond excited to post here at Growing Baby Shelton today.  I first began diligently reading about this adorable family when I discovered Taylor and I gave birth to our little ones just two days apart.  How cool is that!?  I love watching Lucy grow and finding comfort in the similar challenges and triumphs we mamas have in common.  I'm thinking we need to get these two little Spring babies together!  For now, enjoy and come send some love my way!

I am always in a bit of disarray when it comes to "The Holidays."  Making cards, preparing meals, traveling, cleaning, decorating, planning, planning, planning.  Sometimes it leaves me with a general feeling of exhaustion.  These stressors that I mention were felt before my life as a mom.  Now enter J, our bouncy, energetic, generally happy-go-lucky 7 month old.  By the time Thanksgiving rolls around he'll be 8 months and 9 by the New Year.  If that doesn't add a whole new level of stress, I don't know what does.

Now, don't get me wrong!  I do love being festive - the decorations, the music, the general feeling of coziness, love, and excitement.  In fact, it really is "the most wonderful time of the year."  So why, do you ask, am I stressing about it?  

Because I want to do it right.

When T and I got married, we reconciled a lot of our issues with faith and spirituality.  I was raised Protestant, he was raised Jewish.  When J was born we had a rabbi perform a bris and, later, we baptized him.  As a family, we are open to spirituality and faith but closed to religious dogmatism.  Now that two huge religious holidays are rearing their ugly heads quickly approaching with promises of merriment, even more planning must occur.  Lucky for us, this first year we can attempt to make this holiday experience an enjoyable, positive one through trial-and-error for the whole family since J is young enough that he will have no memory.  I consider this year an experiment.

What we will do:
  • We will celebrate Hanukkah - light the menorah, say prayers, play games, tell the story of the Maccabean Revolt.
  • We will celebrate Christmas - decorate a Christmas tree, listen to music, tell the story of the birth of Jesus.
  • We will celebrate St. Nicholas - J will hang up a stocking that we will fill with coins.  The following day, he will count the money and physically take it to a charity of his choice (when he is older) and donate it.  For the first few years, T and I will donate the money in his name.

What we might not do:
  • Santa may or may not make a stop at our household regardless of anyone's behavior!  I can't really get behind the consumerism that Santa stands for, however, I LOVED Santa as a child.  If Santa does not stop here, will J be the weird one not having experienced a visit from those noisy reindeer?  Will he spoil the fun for his classmates in Kindergarten by declaring his nonexistence?
  • We might not give many gifts.  Gifts have never been big in my family.  In fact, the last 10 years the only gifts we've received is a plane ticket home for the holiday.  Let's be honest, that's a pretty darn expensive gift.  For J, we've considered giving him 3 gifts each year representative of the 3 gifts the Wise Men brought to Jesus.  For Hanukkah, we will give gifts each night of story, food, and family time.

I want to celebrate love, life, family, food, joy, peace.  I want to remember and share the stories behind the holidays and focus on why it is we choose to continue to celebrate them.  I want J to grow up knowing that this is the reason for the season.  Not gifts, shopping, stress, frustration.

But let's be honest, this little guy doesn't look like he cares about ANYTHING we choose to do.  As long as I let him sample some pumpkin pie.

 What will you do to celebrate the holidays?  
If you have children, has your focused changed 
about how you will celebrate in some way?  
How do you establish traditions?

1 comment:

  1. We just celebrate Christmas. We will have Santa, but there will be limits- only one toy. This is true for family members giving gifts. And maybe we will donate old toys each year. I like the St. Nicholas idea.