I don’t have a lot of traditions that I follow around this time of year. Well, baking, but I bake all year long, so I guess that doesn’t really count. I do put up a tree, because I think the lights are pretty, but it’s a pre-lit tree and I don’t pull out my vast collection of beautiful glass ornaments because I have unpredictable cats and big dogs with big tails.
I’m not a Christian, and don’t practice any of those rituals. I was Wiccan for a time, and find a great deal of comfort and joy in observing solstices and equinoxes, but in my own quiet way. Up until three years ago, I worked at jobs where working on holidays, any holiday, was an expected thing; zoos and hospitals are up and running 365 days a year, so celebrating on the day before, or after, or the following week has been the norm for me.
I grew up nominally Christian, we observed the forms, trees, Santa Claus, Christmas services at church with the grandparents. In fact, the only time we went to church, as a family, was when my grandparents were visiting (although I was born again for a while, too). The one tradition we had when I was a child was being together; grandparents came into town and stayed for a few weeks, school was out and it was playtime. Yippee! But kids grow up, move out and grandparents pass away. Somewhere in my early twenties, my siblings moved to distant states, while I was the one close to my parents. My siblings were unable to come for holidays for the most part, for multiple reasons, so our family gatherings dwindled.
Years pass, people move about, careers change, or come and go, and sometimes, family members fight and become estranged. I haven’t spent a lot of time with my siblings lately, largely because of their prejudices against my husband. Parts of it have become better over time, and I’m trying very hard to let go my anger, and come to some level of forgiveness. I’ve managed to find that in my heart, but what I find I can’t do is be around them at the holidays. I’d rather be with my husband’s family, and feel love and acceptance.
The biggest rift is between my sister and I, and boy, it’s a doozy. Along the lines of, ‘you’re not my sister anymore’ and ‘you can’t be part of my life’. This year, for my birthday, she sent me ‘Happy Birthday’ by text, where there had been no communication for some time. Hmmm, knowing her, she could just be acting snarky, neither one of us has been above it in the past. But, in the hope that it’s a gesture, some sort of reaching out, I did one of my own. I baked for my family, something I’ve never done before.
I baked them holiday treats, but extra long hours at my work and hubs meant that they never made it into the mail, before Christmas. So tomorrow, the 26th, I’ll head my post office and mail off their orange-cranberry loaves that I made while thinking loving thoughts, and blessed with Reiki to heal our family. I’ll send them off with more Reiki prayers and wait to see if anything comes of it.
Have you managed to overcome rifts in your own family? Do you have time honored traditions you follow every year? My husband and I are minimalists, we neither like to decorate or go crazy with the spending spree, and I’m not a fan of the malls right now. Do you love to shop, and take in all the sights and smells of the season? How do you make this season of peace and love special for you and yours?
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