It is Boxing Day here in New Zealand, and I am enjoying one of the best things about Christmas–the leftovers. I will not have to cook for another two days at the very least! Breakfast is a fried eggs sandwich with Christmas ham–yum.
I had a lovely low-key Christmas with my family yesterday. We met at the family property, the flower garden. It took longer to get there thanks to the earthquake damage to State Highway One, but the roads were almost empty and it was an enjoyable drive. The day was overcast, so we were able to have our picnic lunch without fear of sunburn. I spent the afternoon alternately playing hide and seek with my niece, or chatting with my family. I think this could be a new family tradition. It was pot-luck, with no one person responsible for the bulk of the meal. Presents were optional.Some of us went to church, some of us didn’t. The biggest drama was when the little dog decided the big dog was standing too close and snapped at him (big dog didn’t even notice). It was the most relaxed Christmas I’ve had in years–and that was deliberate.
Now that my niece is old enough to take an interest in Christmas, my sister has been thinking a lot about what traditions she wants to share with her daughter. Her husband is from the UK and has his own thoughts about Christmas, while our Mum and Dad’s families celebrate Christmas very differently. My sister is able to chose what she wants Christmas to represent for her daughter, by taking the best of our three families traditions and combining them into something new.
It occurred to me, that this is not only true for Christmas, but for so much of what we do. We inherit a lot of ways of thinking or acting or doing from our families, often without knowing the why behind them (I read Hearts Alight yesterday, a wonderful seasonal story by Elliot Cooper which mused on the adaptation of Hanukkah to modern America). We don’t have to be hampered by ‘but we’ve always done it this way.’ In 2017, we have a lot of work to do, and a good preparation for that is mindfully choosing what we celebrate and how we celebrate–what values we want to embody and how we can do it. Mindset is really important to what we do and the holidays provide a good opportunity, not just to stock-take, but to ground ourselves in who we are, what we care about and why they matter. 2017 will test us on many levels, but will also find us ready to take on its challenges. We are strong, we are generous, we are brave, we are accepting, and most importantly, we are loving.
Have a wonderful holiday season.