This week, we were all asked to share stories and/or tips on the topic of "giving"--not in the material sense, but on a deeper level that illustrated the true spirit of the holidays. To be perfectly honest, I wasn't feeling particularly inspired this year--the holiday cheer hadn't really spread this way...yet. Coincidentally, when I polled other editors and friends for inspirational stories, the majority was feeling the same way (and also feeling guilty on top it). As one of the editors said last night, "I'm not sure if it's the economy, but I'm just not feeling the holiday cheer this year...I mean, we didn't even put up our tree...."Of course, right after I had finished my giving-themed post, someone sent me this blog entry dated from a few years ago written by Erin Dailey about how her family celebrates Christmas. She describes how it evolved from growing up as a single child (lots of Barbies!) to an adult in her 20s (lots of wine! Lots of cigarettes!). Then, after the death of her father, she and her mother decided to carry on their traditional Christmas celebration by themselves: "That is, lie around, eat tons of food, drink too much, smoke cigarettes, and talk about truths....And now, six years after my father died, our Christmas is very much the same. Mom and I hang out for a bit, annoy each other for several seconds a day, and come to realize that, while we appreciate each other, we are very different from one another; and, we think, that’s okay."
What really resonated with me as I read her story was that we all have personal traditions that help us enjoy the holidays...even when we're not in the mood. While some traditions are so ingrained in our brains that we do it without even thinking (like putting a wreath on the door or dragging a tree in the house); the most interesting ones--like Erin sitting around drinking wine, smoking cigarettes, and playing "What's Your Worst Truth" with her parents--are the ones that make the holidays worth looking forward to.