Monday, December 22, 2014

How and Why Our Family Celebrates Christmas

Our first and favorite Santa.
Gabriel was never afraid of Santa.
A family favorite
The year Gabriel thought being funny was the most important thing.

Gabriel was growing up.
The only evidence we have that Xavier has glasses
The last Santa picture, unless they take pity on me.
How we like to celebrate Christmas
When Gary and I got married, one of the things we had to decide was whether we would celebrate Christmas. Neither of us are or were Christians. I had explored Wicca, but did not wish to follow that path. I had a desire to explore Judaism, but had not done so. As a result, we had neither a religious reason to celebrate Christmas, nor a religious reason not to celebrate Christmas. Since both our families, one Catholic, one Protestant, celebrated Christmas, we decided it made sense to celebrate Christmas. But our Christmas has always been a secular one.

When the boys were little, Christmas was largely about giving and receiving gifts, spending time together, and relaxing. As time has gone by, it has become all about spending time together. We do not celebrate the religious aspects of Christmas. For us, it is a time to celebrate our family and friends. We take the time the government gives us away from jobs and school to spend together.

In recent years, we have talked more and more of changing our celebration to one of the winter solstice. I suspect this will happen next year. But, it is just a day on the calendar. We start our celebration early, and run it as long as our schedule will allow it. So, what do we do?

We game. We game. We game. We bake, and eat, and game. We drink hot chocolate and vanilla, hot apple cider, and eggnog, and we game.

For the last eight years or so, a large portion of our winter season has been devoted to gaming. For several years, most of our evenings were devoted to tae kwon do, so the return to gaming has been that much sweeter.

This year, we are excited for this holiday season. Gary was deployed last year, and it was a pretty depressing Christmas. We are all so happy to have him home this year. Next year, Gabriel will return home from college just in time for Christmas, which, having experienced this phenomenon with Gary, I'm sure will will make the holidays that much more joyful.

PS. In case you're not a long time reader of our blog, I want to point out that we celebrate the winter solstice, Chanukah, Christmas, and New Year's Day. We love winter holidays.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Happy Winter Solstice

This sunrise brought to you by my work as a barista.

I am not a morning person. This fact was well established by the time I was in middle school. But, I love sunrises. There is something special about a sunrise, about a new day, the possibilities inherent in the dawn. The same is true for the winter solstice.

Winter solstice signals the returning of the light. It brings with it rebirth for the earth. Slowly, throughout the winter, the earth is renewed to bring forth spring. Winter is the promise of things to come. One of those things is the returning light of longer days. For this reason, I love winter solstice. 

On this winter solstice, I have a message for the parents. Let go of the past. Realize that the mistakes you have made with your children were mistakes. You made the best choices with the information you had. Sometimes, part of the information is in darkness. Forgive yourself for not having all the information. Move on. Embrace the new day. Embrace the returning of the light to the earth. Allow it into your heart, and let it back out in joy and love.

Happy Winter Solstice! Much love, light, and joy to you this winter season.


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