Christmas is my absolute favouritist time of year. Decorating the house, buying presents for friends and loved ones, trimming the tree, snow, carolling, hot chocolate, lights, cookies, food … aww. What's not to love?? But, I must admit, there are some things I don't love too much. School Christmas concerts for one. Christmas travelling for another. Still, this year I realized those last two traditions might be coming to an end and you know what? I might, kinda, miss them. Who knew?
Now I love hearing kids sing at concerts but when it's instruments only? Sigh. It is a bit of a struggle to sit through, I must say. This year was my seventeenth Christmas concert . Yep. You read that right. SEVENTEENTH. I have heard way too many awkward string and band renditions of Good King Wenceslas to ever hear it again without a slight cringe. And yet. When I saw The Boy up there this year doing his best on the trumpet and sounding surprisingly good for a kid that doesn't practice enough (although his band mates might have been working overtime) I actually got a little nostalgic. There is only one more Christmas concert I am to attend at his school. All three of my children have been in the band or strings program there and I do believe music helps with academic and with social skills. I'm proud all of them joined the music program at school. But once those concerts stop, it almost feels like the childhood stops too. Ya' know?
The other thing that changes this year is that we are not travelling home for Christmas. We are staying in Toronto for once. The Boy has a hockey tournament right after Boxing Day. So we would have had to do the four hour drive to my parents , drive back for the 27th then on the 30th drive back again to celebrate my Dad's 80th birthday for New Year's Eve. Way too much driving even for us who are used to it. So we are spending Christmas entre nous. No grandparents or aunts and uncles to distract the kids. We'll either have a lovely, quiet celebration with much walking of the dog and watching old movies or you'll hear something about a family tragedy on the news the next night. I think I might actually miss the long drive home and the squabbling, cramped van with presents piled in the back and the dog breathing on everyone's faces. Hmm. Maybe I won't miss that part too much. But I'll definitely miss the chaos of Christmas morning and seeing my mom cry at least once over some silly little gift one of the kids has given her. Ah, well. Next year we'll host the Christmas gathering at our newly reno'd house and the grandparents and aunts and uncles can travel to us. It will be the start of a new birthday decade for me then and it's only fitting that a new Chrsitmas tradition should start as well.
Still, the only tradition I hope will always continue is that my husband and I are together celebrating the holidays with our kids for as long as possible. That's the only thing that really matters. Not where, but who.
How about you? What are your favourite and least favourite holiday traditions?