When traditions die

So I’m not quite up to speed in my life yet due to missing the whole month of November (see Nov 21 post, Loss of a Loved One), taking care of after effects, being busy at work and trying to catch up with home business while handling the holidays. I lost a weekend attending our daughter’s college graduation in another state – so proud of our aerospace engineering girl! After she and we returned home I realized Christmas was the next week and all I had done was get my mother’s cards in the mail and thrown some lights on the front bushes. The tree! The cookies! Our cards! Oh, no!

The thought of putting up the usual full-size live and messy tree was overwhelming. As in emotional breakdown overwhelming. So I stuffed the three-foot office party Christmas tree into the back seat of the car, ornaments and all, and brought it home to set on an end table in a dark corner. “See, it doesn’t look bad at all at night,” I pleaded with my girls, hoping they’d agree to toss tradition to the winds and accept this little faker. They took pity on me (they didn’t want to take over the work, not for just a week of tree enjoyment). I felt guilty, but I got over it.

Talking to others who have had to change their Christmas traditions made me feel better. I remembered that it’s okay to alter the old ways or make do with less to accommodate new conditions. Conditions may be permanent, like kids growing up and having families of their own and other places to visit, and some are one-off like having to deal with a family or business issue that pops up. Adaptability is the key to less stress, letting go of expectations and grabbing on to what makes the most sense.

Hope you all are having a wonderful holiday, of altered traditions or not. I like this little fake tree!

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About moonbridgebooks

Co-author of Cherry Blossoms in Twilight, a WWII Japan memoir of her mother's childhood; Co-author/Editor of Battlefield Doc, a medic's memoir of combat duty during the Korean War; life writing enthusiast; loves history and culture (especially Japan), and cats
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3 Responses to When traditions die

  1. Jan Morrill says:

    Adaptability. I was thinking the very thing this morning as I missed certain traditions. A timely and poignant post. I wis you and your family good memories of old traditions and open hearts to find new ones!

  2. Your tree is lovely, and I realize what a shock it is to downsize. I opted for a tiny tree ages ago, and it took some getting used to. Now I have three that I keep in plastic bags, fully decorated, from January through November. My seasonal lament is that everyone I know in this family intense town has come to the point of being totally overwhelmed with family Christmas preparations, with no time left for even an hour of celebrating with friends. Those of us without family at hand are left sitting in a snowbank. Count your blessings that you had daughters with you to even see the tree!

  3. Yes, adaptability is such an important component to being happy. Shock is a good description for some changes, but we do have to keep things in perspective – thanks, Sharon! The one year we went nowhere for Christmas was way too big a shock for me, though, and we came up with a different adaptation to visiting our families then. Sharon, you have a good point about feeling left out. It’s so nice when people are thoughtful enough to make a place for those who are on their own, especially around holidays. Happy New Year to all!

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