Nature’s presents and presence
“Tradition”: something handed on (from person to person, year to year, generation to generation)
I’ve let go of most traditions of the past, and Christmas is no exception. . .they really became empty and stale, even a bit depressing. . .so I felt great relief leaving them in the pile of torn wrappings and memories.
Yes, sometimes I miss a bit of the “old way” but mostly it feels good to do things differently, to celebrate the change of seasons in new and refreshing ways.
Here are a few new, personal traditions I’m handing on, or simply offering as alternatives (leave a comment and suggest your own):
Climbing a Tree. . .something I’ve done on my Christmas Birthday for a number of years; sometimes 50 feet up a fir or merely up an oak limb with legs dangling near the ground; reminds me why I don’t cut a tree to celebrate the life of the season; a walk in the forest among the living trees will do.
Solstice Seat. . .a new idea this year. . .just happened. . .an empty chair by the fire holding a few gifts. . .made me think of Elijah’s Chair and wine glass at Passover. . .symbolic of welcoming the Solstice, as well as those who wait for a welcome home, guests, hospitality, those who have no home; and a chair is something useful, not to be thrown out after the festivities.
Wreath on the Table. . .made of fallen branches, a little greenery with a candle is a longtime joy to see and smell in the darker time of year.
More candles. . .and we even have a strand of gentle white lights around our front window, left there year-round to just brighten up the evenings and bring a touch of good cheer to each day, which is, after all, a precious gift, a holiday.
Music (some of my seasonal favorites, plus a few strange selections)
The Christmas Song (Nat King Cole, of course)
So This is Christmas–War is Over (John Lennon)
Do They Know It’s Christmas (Band Aid, 1984)
Holly and the Ivy (George Winston)
Father Christmas (Greg Lake and Ian Anderson)
Gabriel’s Song (Sting)
Little Drummer Boy (Bing Crosby and David Bowie–weird but strangely beautiful)
Winter Wonderland (Aretha)
Gospel Christmas (Ray Charles)
Carol of the Bells (David Hicken, solo piano)
Coventry Carol (Annie Lennox and African Children’s Choir)
A Charlie Brown Christmas (Classic of course)
Merry Christmas Baby (Sheryl Crow and Eric Clapton)
A Very Special Christmas (first one, 1987–Pointer Sisters, Springsteen, Madonna, U2)
Feliz Navidad (Jose Feliciano)
Blue Christmas (Elvis)
I’ll Be Home for Christmas (Al Green)
Walking in the Air (from The Snowman)
Solar Light (scientific Silent Night)
Christmas All Over Again (Tom Petty)
That’s What Christmas Means to Me (Stevie Wonder)
Last Christmas (Taylor Swift)