Christmas by the Seat of My Pants [redux]

by the seat of my pants

[Reprinted from December 2010, because I know I needed the reminder. Maybe you did to.]

There was never any question.

On Easter we drove to Pennsylvania, discovered giant baskets of chocolate, hunted for colored eggs in the yard, and ate ham, brussels sprouts and creamed cucumbers for dinner. There was always a cake shaped like a lamb with coconut frosting and jelly beans for eyes.

On Thanksgiving, we spent hours in traffic on our way to Pennsylvania, watched the Macy’s parade in our pajamas, and ate a giant turkey dinner with all the trimmings. When we were almost hungry again, we’d fit pumpkin pie topped with Cool Whip into our bellies.

We spent Christmas in Connecticut. My sister and I would get up before dawn to discover stockings filled with goodies that always included a deck of cards and a Whitman’s Sampler. We made coffee for the grown-ups, and Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls (with the orange icing), then raced upstairs to wake them all up so we could open the presents under the tree.

There was never any question.

Traditions are like that. They are as familiar as a pair of old jeans—pull them on and there you have it! Easter. Thanksgiving. Christmas.

But what happens when the jeans don’t fit anymore? For whatever reason, what happens when you find yourself staring down the biggest holiday of them all, and you have no idea what to do next?

I’ll be honest with you…I have no idea.

This is nothing new. I’ve been wandering pantless through the holidays for a while now. Each one, for the past dozen years or so, a patchwork of what they were and what they “should” be; what I remembered them being and what I thought would make other people happy.

What is new is that I just remembered I have the power to redfine them for myself.

[Click those heels together, Dorothy, it’s been with you all along!]

So I started by writing down some words, setting my intentions for the month ahead: happy, good food, calm, friends, enjoyable, nourishing.

I remember baking cookies one Christmas and singing along with Bing Crosby.

I add that to the list.

There was the Christmas I trekked out at sunrise and watched the gulls dance along the waves in the harbor.

That goes on the list, too.

White Christmas
roast chicken
red wine
morning writing
Ring Out Solstice Bells
afternoon nap
thumbprint cookies
walk in the woods
sparkly lights

And that’s me right now. Just making a list and checking it twice—and wondering what kind of new traditions we might find under the tree this year.

All I want for christmas...

7 thoughts on “Christmas by the Seat of My Pants [redux]

  1. What a great post! Yes, we seem to forget we do have the power to redefine things that don’t fit us anymore. I totally remember having those lamb cakes with coconut frosting always for my birthday. Now people just go buy cakes instead of putting the love of creation into them. Thanks for the memory of those sweet yummy cakes!

    1. The post was a great reminder about just that – our power to redefine the holidays. I keep using the word “resonate” as I work on my new list for this year. What resonates?

      (Ah, yes, the lamb cake. I’ve had mixed reviews about that.)

  2. This could be printed every year: Jen’s Christmas Letter to the World!
    The pantless b/w photo is priceless, wherever it comes from.
    And colorful little wide eyed you is pretty cute there under that big tree!

    1. I was half-way through a holiday kvetch with a friend this morning when I thought: huh, this sounds very familiar. And there it was, exactly 365 days ago. Must be that time of year! A good reminder – and most definitely fun to reuse the photos!

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