festive realities

Exactly three weeks ago, just before the beginning of December and the beginning of advent for some people, I wrote a post about how we thought we’d approach Christmas this year. Here’s the update…

Last year’s tree. The one that didn’t make it through to Christmas Day anyway.

 

In short, there isn’t one!

We’re not going to Perth until early next year so we won’t be seeing any loved ones who celebrate Christmas until it’s all over, and we’re not able to fit Christmassy extras into our budget at this stage, so we’re just not doing it. It’s been great! Sprout hasn’t mentioned it again, she’s been exposed to it still around town and through people we meet wishing us a Merry Christmas and yet she’s shown no interest in doing anything Christmassy.

We’ve been crafting just as much as usual, without any themes. We’ve been having some amazing food (poached eggs on essene bread, fresh cherries, young coconut smoothies, roast lamb, homemade Indian banquet – and that was just yesterday’s menu!) which is also pretty usual for us. We’ve been seeing plenty of our friends, which is also usual at this time of year.

With the Summer solstice coming up next week and Moe’s birthday just after Christmas there’s no shortage of reasons to feast and celebrate, so we aren’t deprived. What we have been deprived of is any Christmas induced stress. It’s been really lovely to be true to our own beliefs, and spend this beautiful Summer time just enjoying the longer daylight hours and each other, rather than worrying about a long list of things to do before the Christmas deadline.

I think this will be our new Christmas tradition from now on. We have full and blessed lives, with plenty of reasons to celebrate all year. We seem to have found what fits us and it’s incredibly relaxing.

posted by wildecrafted in journal and have No Comments

festive decisions

“Something they want

Something they need

Something to wear and

Something to read”

 

With December rapidly approaching, Bean and I had a D&M about Christmas last week. In the past it’s been a tough time of year for us, for many reasons, and we had elected not to celebrate it. Christianity is not our faith, so we thought we had little reason to celebrate Christian festivals. It’s hard to ignore Christmas though, as we both come from families who celebrate Christmas and we felt a lot of pressure to fit in. It’s not that our decision wasn’t respected by anyone, it’s just that we were still invited to family gatherings and still given gifts from family. We didn’t want to turn down an invitation to feast with people we love, and we didn’t want to accept gifts and give nothing in return, even though there was no expectation to give anything in return. So, we’d end up getting swept along with other people’s ways of celebrating a festival we didn’t want to celebrate in the first place.

For me, there are a lot of painful memories tied up with Christmas so I wanted to bury my head in the sand and pretend it wasn’t happening. If I didn’t participate I couldn’t be hurt, or disappointed. Or so I thought. I don’t know anyone else who’s tried to avoid Christmas, but it’s not easy. In fact, we found it impossible. We’d always end up doing something.

This year, Sprout is four years old. She has noticed the decorations around town and has asked us what they are for. We told her they’re Christmas decorations, so naturally she wants to know more about Christmas. We have told her the mythology and explained that some Christian people (but not all) choose to celebrate Christmas as part of their faith, and that some people who don’t believe Christian mythology still celebate Christmas anyway as a family tradition. She tells us she remembers Christmas trees at other people’s houses last year, she remembers that we put one up too, but pulled it down after not long because she and Moe kept pulling the decorations off (or was it because I didn’t want to get swept up in that whole painful Christmas thing again?). She told us she wants to celebrate Christmas this year…

Eeek. Fears of a stressful December rush into my mind. Deck the halls with disappointment! I explained that her Dad and I don’t believe the Christmas story is real, that we think it’s just a nice story, so we haven’t tried very hard to celebrate it before, but that we would be delighted to celebrate the story with her if that’s what she wants. After all, it’s not up to us to tell her what to believe!

Now, her excitement has rubbed off on me. I am quite looking forward to embracing the season and putting our own stamp on it. We have decided that Christmas will be all about stories for us. While we don’t believe the stories, we don’t think that should stop us from celebrating them and the morals they present. At various times we commemorate or celebrate mythology from other cultures… Celtic mythology in the form of seasonal celebrations, Greek & Roman mythology in the form of stories – particularly as I was studying the history of aromatherapy and sharing my findings with the children when making up aromatherapy blends.

We are going to make our Christmas a truly handmade holiday. In the weeks leading up to it we will be making food and small crafted gifts for our loved ones. We’ll be decorating the small space we live in with a few modest handmade decorations. The exceptions to handmade gifts will be heirloom seed packets and oxfam unwrapped gifts or donations to particular charities on behalf of someone (in addition to the small, handmade gift we will make just for them).

We don’t do the Father Christmas/Santa Claus make-believe thing (for many reasons) but we know that Sprout and Moe will be asked what Father Christmas brought them. They’ll be asked if they’ve been “good” so Father Christmas will bring them presents (what a load of horse poop, they’re always good, they’re good people! They’re good whether they’re behaving in the way I want them to or not!). They’ll hear about FC from other people so we’ve decided that a great way to combat the question of what FC brought the children, while staying true to our desire for Christmas to be free from consumerism is to make a “Father Christmas Sack” in the weeks leading up to Christmas day. We’ll tell the story of Saint Nick, and talk about the origins of the character of Father Christmas. I’ll sew a small calico bag each for Sprout and Moe to decorate with fabric paints in whatever colours and design they choose, then we’ll put them away until Christmas eve when we’ll get them out again for the sprogs to leave on the end of their bed. We’ll tell the story of Saint Nick again, and tell the sprogs we’ll put a couple of (handmade) gifts in their Father Christmas Sack for them to find in the morning. They won’t feel left out when the extended family and friends discuss it and we’ll have celebrated another Christmas story in our own way.

Christmas day we’ll have a feast together, we haven’t deciced what we’ll feast on yet, but it will be delicious, whatever it is! We’re unable to join the extended family for Christmas day because finances don’t stretch to a trip to Perth at the moment so it’ll just be us. Small, and however we want to do it. We might even go to the beach, if the weather is nice. I always wanted to spend some of Christmas day at the beach when I was little…

Two days after Christmas is Moe’s birthday. We’ll spend Boxing day packing away all evidence of Christmas so Moe can have a special day that’s all about him.

Four more weeks to go… I’m determined to make it a great season this time.

posted by wildecrafted in journal and have Comments (7)