The pressures that come with the holidays overwhelm me at times. Creating family traditions and imprinting warm memories on one's children are probably at the top of the list. I ask myself far too often, Will my children look back on these days with fondness or will they foremost remember a grouchy mother who overreacts at the least little bit of squabbling?
I gave an Advent speech last night to Myles and Fiona, and to Eric and I also, that as we have received the gift of peace, we must then give the gift of peace to those within our home and out. It will be work, I said to be peacemakers this season. And even when we don't feel like it, we simply must. And then if that wasn't inspiring enough I threw in the threat that they wouldn't be able to hang their stockings if there wasn't cooperation to this vision. (I have been using this for years now, and the terror it can cause is rather astounding.)
In my desperation to foster contentment and gratitude throughout our home, I will resist the urge to reinvent the tradition wheel. We will open the doors of our Advent calendar. We will read the liturgy, and light candles. We will build fires, and we will bake. We will read books, and books, and then bake some more. And hopefully throw a party.
I also plan on taking a cue from my mom, who would give beautifully planted paperwhite bulbs in galvanized tins to all her neighbors and relations. I will do this ahead of time, so it is done with joy, not panic. Picture me raising my right hand here.