Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bringing back the old, beginning some new...

I am a sucker for tradition, especially when it comes to the holidays.  When I was little, still living at home, I would start making these long lists of things to accomplish for the holidays around the month of October.  I set it upon myself to help Mom by cleaning every drawer, closet, and corner of the house, as if we couldn't celebrate the holidays in a house with an unorganized underwear drawer.  I would hang my paper chain just so, read a single holiday book to my brother every night, and forced my father to hang Christmas lights on Thanksgiving morning while the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade played on TV and Mom baked cinnamon rolls in the oven.  Sometimes, when I look back at my childhood, I feel a little sorry for myself, with the pressure I must have felt to rekindle the same traditions year after year.  It sounds a bit stressful for a little person.  When I look back on this childhood, however, I am filled with happy moments and rich memories.

Now, as somewhat of a grown woman, I am still lost in that mindset I had as a little girl...the mindset to continue the traditions that defined a part of the holidays for me.  Only now, instead of climbing onto the roof with my dad or crawling in bed for a story with my little brother, I am a mom, responsible for beginning new traditions for my own family.  Taking pieces of traditions from both my childhood and Beau's, while starting our own, special rituals that Cruz (and future Jorgensens) will look back at when they are old someday (shudder). 

And although Cruz is tiny and will have no recollection of this first Christmas of his (except via this blog, which will probably bore him to pieces), this feels like the year to start.  He may not know his hand from a present under the tree, yet, he still has this sweet little look of wonder on his face when lying in front of the Christmas tree, or listening to us talk to him.  With every new sound, image, and experience, he, too, is piecing together his new life with us.  

The Old...

Storytime...Cruz has just recently become infatuated with books, magazines, or my laptop.  He is content sitting on my lap and becomes enthralled with anything I put in front of him, whether it's one of his board books, a Pottery Barn catalog, or this very blog.  This week, as Cruz begins to drift into his sleepy state, I've started reading to him before bed.  He likes the sound of my voice, likes watching the pages turn, and it has become a great way for me to wind down before bed.  Sometimes we get through an entire book, sometimes not, but it's turning into a tradition that will likely last into 2011.

Ornaments...When Beau and I celebrated our first Christmas together, we found that we shared an important Christmas tradition.  We both had moms and grandmas who loved building an ornament collection for us.  My Grandma Henrichs made each of her grandkids a personalized ornament each year, and Beau's mom filled his stocking with unique Hallmark ornaments.  Needless to say, we've never had a bare tree!  Each year, we make some appetizers, pour some wine, and decorate the tree together, and as we unpack ornaments from our childhood and years together, the same stories are told.  The three exact same Shrek ornaments to commemorate our first date, as well as the night of our engagement.  The boy and girl snowman holding hands, Our First Christmas Together, scribed beneath them.  The little house ornament to signify our first Christmas in our first house, and one of my personal favorites, a shopping bag that plays the song, 'Santa Baby.'  A Dunder Mifflin, 'World's Best Boss,' ornament hung above a little ceramic doll, handmade by Grandma Henrichs in 1995.  I love this tree and the stories that hang from every single branch.  I can't wait to pick out a new ornament for Cruz to begin his very own collection this year. 

The New...

Christmas Pajamas...I've always been a sap for Christmas movies, especially scenes from Christmas Eve.  A plate of cookies for Santa that sits beside a crackling fire, a piano that plays Christmas carols, and most of all, little kids crowded around a Christmas tree, all dressed in cute little pajamas.  This year, on Christmas Eve night, I want Cruz to open one present: his first set of Christmas pajamas and a brand new Christmas book.     

An Advent Calendar...I stole this idea from another blog.  Little baby mittens make the perfect garland for the fireplace mantle, and will someday be filled with little treats to help little Jorgensens count down the days 'til Christmas.  Beau says it's a little silly to start the 'little treats' part this year, so for now, they are empty little mittens.  I love the way the mittens remind me of a long day outside playing in the snow, hanging the gear by the fire to dry. 

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