I love this time of the year, despite its hectic, it is the time where a lot of traditions are coming out again – it is the Christmas Season.
Yes, it is the time of craziness to meet up with friends, colleagues and family, organising presents, decorating the house, playing Christmas music and making time for baking between it all. But it is as well a time we tend to reflect more than usual and to slow down whenever we can. The days are shorter, candles are lit, Christmas decorations and lights give this special something that we want to enjoy, despite all the running around.
I love this time as well because it is a way to keep old traditions and spice it up with new ones depending on where we live. Over the years of living in various countries, without and with kids I noticed that we dropped the parts that didn`t fit and thus created a blend of different traditions.
As per Wikipedia the English word “tradition” comes from the Latin traditio, to transmit, to hand over, to give for safekeeping.
And yes, to me it is this special time of the year to hand over some habits, behaviors, routines. But at the same time we shouldn’t stress out that it all needs to be the same as it always was. Instead be open, try and create something new, especially when living somewhere different!
Be open and create your own new traditions!
Living overseas with kids made me realise that I want to hand down some of my childhood traditions to them, same does my husband. But both of us already are a mix of traditions, with him being Dutch and me German-Swedish. A lot is happening in those countries during this time of the year! The Dutch tend to have their big celebration on Dec 5th with Sinterklaas (and the few weeks before when kids are leaving shoes out, with carrots and water for the horse and may find some little presents or sweets in their shoes the next morning), then come the Advent candles, the Advent calendar, Lucia Celebration to bring some light into the darkness and Christmas Eve when we really celebrate with presents and a nice dinner. And then add the traditions of the country we live into the mix!
Over the years it was getting too much and some traditions got “adjusted”.
One change is the Advent-Calendar. Normally they are for kids only but hey – when it comes to Christmas Time I am a child myself and want to join the fun! So over the years we changed it into a family calendar where we we all have some days – parent to parent, parent to kids, kids to parents and family days.
One tradition I kept and will keep are some of the standard cookies we bake during this time. They are the ones I baked with my mother. But we do add new ones depending on what the kids feel like trying, sometimes those are cookies they had a friends` houses from different countries.
An other tradition that changed and keeps on changing is the Christmas Dinner. I grew up and loved the very traditional Swedish Christmas Dinner but that one quickly had to be re-adjusted after we moved for the first time due to the lack of ingredients. So by now we tend to keep parts of that Christmas Dinner and spice and mix it up with ingredients that we can get in the country we live in – this year it will be Sushi as starter!
Yes, traditions are good to have but we should not sweat over them.
To me it is more important to create some joyful and memorable
family and friends time – no matter where we are.
That is as well a tradition!
Use this special season as well to bring together and to be there for those who have faced sorrow and pain, or simply feel lost! And being an expat myself – do reach out to those who face Christmas away from family and friends and may struggle with that.
With all the joy and fun we may experience during this special time of the year
let`s make it as well a tradition to reach out to one another!
To all – have a lovely, peaceful and healthy Christmas time, wherever you are!
Lots of love