Decorating Day | November Self Portrait

The first Christmas season after we were married, Jonathan and I got to talking about Holiday traditions. We knew that we’d celebrate with my family on Christmas Eve and his on Christmas Day, so we scheduled OUR Christmas on December 23rd. We put up our tree and I cried a little.  I was homesick after we got married and Christmas decorating made the homesickness worse. But he hugged me and I felt better. And when December 23rd came, we exchanged gifts and I created a magnificent 3-meat dish involving some kind of beef, bacon, butter and brown sugar and declared it The Official Christmas Dish of the Jonathan & Abby Anderson Family. We would have this for the next 50 Christmases to come!

My meat dish idea didn’t last. Partially due to the fact that I’m terrible at writing down recipes. And in retrospect, I think I was just eager to build that sense of Christmas familiarity. We were a new family, and we needed a tradition of some kind.  You know that feeling of opening a brown cardboard box and becoming re-acquainted with ornaments you’ve hung on the tree every year since you were two feet tall?  “Oh hi Christmas ornament, I remember you!”  It’s a friendly feeling.

But real traditions aren’t pre-fabricated or declared.
They just happen over time. You do something, and then you do it again.

This past week we spent a day at home by ourselves. The four of us. We slept in, ate pancakes and decorated our little home for Christmas earlier than ever before. Eden and Anika are so excited for Christmas this year and at 4 & 8 years old, they’re at the perfect ages to start building memories.  We got a real tree and the brightest, most colorful lights you could find.  After a massive cleanup, a broken and repaired ceramic bell and dealing with three temper tantrums (#reallife ) we snuggled on the couch for a minute to enjoy the glow. We talked about the Cinnamon Chip French Toast we’ve eaten for Christmas morning the last two years and how we’d like to have that again. Maybe Pancakes + Decorating Day will become a tradition too, but for now… we’ll just say that it was fun. And we’ll likely do it again.

This is the continuation of my monthly self portrait series.
See other posts from the series here!


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