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Family Traditions: Refocusing on What Matters Most

Christmas Eve we stopped by our friend’s home and found darkness other than a few candles in the dining room. The children ran to the door to greet the dancer and I.  They were so excited to tell us about their Christmas Eve tradition they carry on each year: A candle light dinner, dinner eaten off mother's best china, cider in goblets, and treats and memories to share.

I know excitement on Christmas Eve...I remember my siblings and I crammed into one bedroom each year and looking for Rudolph's red nose blinking out in the blackened sky...
And yet, I've not seen pure joy like this for a family tradition: love, sharing, and time together.

If life and its rushed pace and many stresses have made it difficult for you to feel like rejoicing, then perhaps now is a good time to refocus on what matters most. ~Dieter F. Uchtdorf

I grew up away from extended family. Family on both sides had large Christmas Eve parties. I'm sure my parents were trying to create a similar event, and would invite several families each year to our home. The house bursted at the seams with between 25 and 40 people...the only ones really related to us were our Grommie and Aunt Nellie...yet we considered them all family. Over the years the attendees changed a bit and even left to create traditions of their own. Yet there was usually a wonderful dinner with decorated tables, caroling round the piano, a theatrical portrayal of the Nativity, talent numbers, & memories for all.

The designer participated in similar traditions, though with just his family, cousins, aunts and uncle {there were just as many of them}. 

Yet I can't stop thinking about that simple, small, and meaningful dinner we witnessed.

The designer and I have realized this year that our little family is becoming more important in the grand scheme of things. This year we found a good pace for our family and feel it needs to continue for most success. To teach and learn from one another, to build the strength needed to sustain us through turbulent times.

When the builder was sick the week before Winter break, we slowed down. It could have been detrimental to our family otherwise. By the time he felt better, it was too late to do some of the things on our holiday list of activities. So we gave up a little. And I'm glad we did.
We're learning that slowing down is not only good during adverse conditions or holiday conditions, that it is generally good for all conditions

Yes, we'll probably miss out on some parties and events, but if our children learn all we are to teach them, and more importantly, that they feel real joy and love, then it will be a safe and successful journey.

I'm looking forward to 2011: to new traditions, to the evolution of current ones, and to more peaceful, simple, and yet, joyful times as a family! 

katrina berg loves to create with her three small kiddos everyday. They paint, cook, and make lots of messes. The future cooks & artists like to borrow her favorite tools, so if you spot a stray ladel, paint brushes, or sushi mat...please let her know


Photo Credit: All Gathered In, original oil by katrina berg

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