When I was a kid there were two days during Christmas break that I just loved. Christmas, for obvious kid-ly reasons, and New Year's Day for the annual Collins Family Reunion. My mother's sibs took turns hosting every year, and with armloads of yummy food to share, we gathered around card tables and sat on piano benches and had a blast. We hugged aunts and uncles and measured ourselves against growing cousins. We got to eat cookies and skip the veggies and have whole cans of orange and grape soda all to ourselves. I loved it.
Then one year, who knows which, plans were differed to the summer, when it would be warmer, and that year, it all somehow...stopped. The reunion never happened, not that year, and not ever again. The next time I saw my relatives, I was a married mama and it was at my uncle's funeral.
I didn't make a Christmas card this year.
I let it go.
I have made a card almost every year since Guy and I got married, and it is "the one thing" I get done even if I don't do anything else. But this year I decided that if it meant getting all stressed out, the card would not be worth it. It was so much easier to let it go after the year we have had. A few folks lament not getting "their card" this year. To them I can only say, I love you anyway.
I didn't make many homemade gifts, or bake. I didn't hang the Christmas cards on the wall like usual, or take a billion goodie plates to friends. I started to worry. Was I letting go of my traditions? Would I lose something that I would never get back?
The week before Christmas I decided to put up my village. I hadn't gotten to it, or to much else besides the tree. I thought about the fact that I didn't put it up last year, and I decided that it was okay to let some things go, as long as I didn't let go completely.
And the ghosts of Christmas's past poked their heads out of the box and said, "Hey, lady! We're baaa-aack!" And then I found him.
The tiny alligator that lives in our village. It roams the streets and climbs the porches, terrorizing the tiny townsfolk. And if you are the lucky one to find him, you get to hide him again. Long before the elf climbed up on any shelf, this little roving reptile has been wreaking havoc in Holmanville.
And as I put the final touches on my village, the gator gave me a toothy grin and I grinned back, because I knew he knew it was all okay. Traditions are a wonderful thing, as long as they don't get in the way of the actual living, and living is all well and good, so long as you make room for a little alligator in your life
once in a while.
and on that note...
The Collins-James Family Reunion
on New Year's Day!!!
Christmas 2013 Photo Album
|Ellie during her gymnastics performance. She did great.|
|Pulla (pool-a), a lovely cardamom spiced braided bread from Finland,|
handmade by Guy, cuz he's awesome.
|And just to prove how awesome, look at the rest of our Christmas Eve spread! |
Yes, those are Cannoli and See's. Man cannot live on Pulla alone!
|"I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus!!!"|
|The Three Princesses|
|It's all about the Legos and Playmobiles, baby!|
|If you look closely you will find 6 human beings in this photo.|
It's like a Where's Waldo, but messier.
May your days be merry and bright!
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and
a year filled with peace and hope!