A New Kind of Christmas Tradition?

I think it’s official.  I don’t really want to admit it, but, well….I’m going to.  I’m over Christmas.  Not the warm, fuzzy feel of it, but the commercialized, gimmegimmegimme of it all.  The best thing about Christmas for this Black Dog is I get an extra day off with the hubby and the Wonder Mutt.

Who needs Christmas when you've got yourtown personal swimming hole?!

Who needs Christmas when you’ve got your own personal swimming hole?!

Let’s face it.  Christmas is never really the same as it was when you were a rug rat.  The excitement would build up for weeks as you waited to see what Santa would bring you.  The tree would glow softly, Mom would lock us out of her room while she wrapped presents, cookie baking would be in full force, and you hoped Mother Nature would cooperate and send you snow that you could go sledding on after opening presents.  Or in our case, jump on a toboggan that would lead us to almost certain death on many occasions.  ALMOST.

Exhibit A.

Exhibit A.

That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the holiday season.  I love the lights, the decorations, the lights, the music, the lights, the smell of fresh-cut pine trees, and the lights.  (Are you getting the idea here?)  At heart, I swear I have some distant genetic Osborne link in me somewhere.

I miss the old display, don't you?

I miss the old display, don’t you?

It’s inevitable that we grow up – at least physically – and old traditions fall by the wayside.  Getting the family together becomes harder as relatives move away.  Time has to be split between families, work demands interfere with taking time off, and you start to realize just how crazy greedy people have become.  Shopping on Thanksgiving Day?  Really?  We’ve become so consumed with finding the perfect gift, and finding it fast, that we spend an extra couple of days off fighting crazy shoppers who think nothing of stampeding over you to get the latest and greatest.

black friday

I think that perhaps, along the way, we’ve lost sight of what’s REALLY important.  We chose not to put up a tree this year.  We just didn’t feel like dealing with pine needles, the expense, or the inevitable aggravation because the lights once again have managed to come out of the box in a big, tangled mess, even though we KNOW they didn’t go in that way.  We still decorated the house, and the hubby put the lights up outside.  We’re not hosting any parties or having anyone over.  It will just be the blessed peacefulness of us and the Wonder Mutt.  And the menagerie of assorted water fowl we seem to be collecting in our lake.  And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Ducks, meet world.  World, ducks.

Ducks, meet world. World, ducks.

I do miss the fun of stress-free shopping.  I always loved when I’d happen across the perfect gift for someone.  Seeing the joy on a loved one’s face when they opened it made every penny well spent.  Over time though, my patience with shopping – and people – has grown quite thin.  With the advent of online shopping, the only shopping I do now is for wrapping paper.  And now the only gifts I really even buy anymore fall into the, “I don’t want them to think I’m not thinking about them at Christmas so here’s an awesome wine basket I would have bought for myself” kind of category.  Am I sounding a bit like a Bah Humbugger?  I’m really not.  I just honestly feel sometimes like the human race has its priorities kind of skewed.  I once suggested that we spend a Christmas doing some kind of volunteer thing, instead of giving gifts.  You can imagine the look I got from the younger crowd.  And THAT is truly sad.


So this is my challenge to you, dear readers.  Take a break from all the craziness, greed, and chaos of the holidays.  Take a moment and think of those who can’t be home to celebrate Christmas. Or those who are too poor, have no place to call home, or feel as though they have no one who cares about them.  A little bit of kindness to these people will go a long, long way.  And you just may be surprised what you get in return….along with a new tradition


Enjoy the ride.

What traditions do you have?  Have you ever forgone giving gifts and spent the day volunteering at something?  How would your family feel if gift-giving wasn’t part of the day?


13 thoughts on “A New Kind of Christmas Tradition?

  1. Okay, so here’s my favorite thing about Christmas, and, like you, my dear sister, it involves Christmas lights….lots and lots and lots of Christmas lights. As you well know, our Christmas light display at our humble beginnings abode in Plainville, grew, and grew over the years. It eventually became THAT HOUSE where traffic would line up night after night creating great consternation among the neighbors, who were already a little peeved…okay, pissed off…when the lights in their homes would dim at 5:00 (precisely, of course) when our lights would automatically come on, (digital timer, naturally). I really enjoyed seeing all the families that would come by and stop to take pictures of our home as it seemed to satisfy my pathetic need for attention. One year, an older woman knocked on our Mom’s back door. She told her how much her daughter had looked forward to stopping by our home and having her picture taken with the nearly 25,000 lights in the background, and our “Dangerous Santa” hanging precariously from a string of Christmas lights over the driveway between our house and the Pavanos next door. She went on to tell Mom how she had lost her daughter that year, and then, crying, told her how much she wanted us to know the joy that their annual tradition had brought to her daughter over the years, for which she could not thank us enough. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to give a more perfect Christmas gift than that, to someone I never even knew. Love and blessings to all.

    • You don’t think you would post this without the Maine Kijanka/Bendtson family pitching in, would you? We have started a tradition of drawing names after Thanksgiving dinner. Of course not just names scribbled on paper, but BEAUTIFUL handmade gift tags (made by yours truly), so Christmas day you put that name tag on the gift you drew for Secret Santa. The northern family and blending of families is getting bigger all the time. This year there is a dollar limit and Goodwill, repurposed , handmade or regifting is the theme. What is most looked forward to, is after dinner, stockings and Secret Santa is over. We set up dessert and liquior table, Peters family come over and we do Yankee Swap! It seems to go on for ever, lots of laughing, trading, or should I say stealing? You never know what will be in play. One year there was a battle over a shower head that was grabbed from the basement moments before, pooping polar bears, handmade pitchers, a wooden box of scratch off tickets, a singing Christmas tree ,…..you get the picture. Only rule is no beer! (as gifts) first year all the boys bought 6 packs of beer and just kept taking one 6 pack for another. Now I am not saying there is no beer or wine at the party. Just not as a trade in Yankee swap. All in all it is just a wonderful day of family! Love always. your big sister!
      PS I have so many lights on the inside of the house we don’t even have to use our house lights! Love you love you all!

      • I can only imagine the chaos! Why is it that it always seemed a quiet, sedate, family get together is an unknown concept to our menagerie! As much as I may have hated it at the time, I SO miss those days now. I love the absolute nothingness of our holidays now, but I do so wish it was easier to have that mayhem back every so often. And tell whoever gets the pooping polar bear to send it to me. I will pay top dollar for it! That’s it. Just a dollar. The chaos is what’s priceless. ❤

  2. Ay-men! My sister had to work on Thanksgiving this year, which was super sucky. It makes me really sad that profits are more important than family and tradition. I seriously just can’t wait to spend 4 days in my PJs watching movies, playing cards, and hanging out with my family.

  3. My favorite thing about Christmas? Christmas Eve. I’m Italian and we go allllll Old Country and have a big ass 7 Fish Bonanza! With GALLONS of wine. It’s the best part. Family. Food. Wine. Throw in a run early in the day, and I’m in goddamn heaven. I’m over the shopping. I’m over all the crap. Simply over all the force fed Christmas crap. We are going to be in your neck of the woods after New Years! Hellloooo South Flaaahrida. 🙂

  4. It’s true Christmas was so much more fun when you were a little kid. When you grow up your priorities change and you appreciate the other things like spending time w family. Though this is a stressful time of yr. we have to just relax and enjoy it. Afterall it only does come once a yr.

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