It’s that time of year again! My kids were so excited for the holidays that we hung lights the day after Thanksgiving, swapped autumn decorations for winter ones, got out the nutcrackers, and even went to buy our annual tree that same weekend. I had forgotten how magical this time of year can be, but my little ones’ enthusiasm is reminding me. Although we don’t currently follow specific religious traditions, my family and I have a growing list of our own special ways to celebrate the season. Opening windows in the little log cabin to reveal a different woodland animal each day is one of them. Buying, naming, and planting a living tree is another. That began in 2011, the year my daughter was born and we moved into our house as well. Since then we have planted Maximilian, Serbert, Arthur, Felix, Frosty, and Kitty in our little corner of the world. This year’s tree is a Fraser fir we have yet to name, but I’m sure we’ll do so soon!


Traveling to visit my side of the family is yet another of our December traditions. There are always lots of cookies, plenty of presents, tons of cousins, and not much sleep, but that’s all part of the fun, right?! This morning my kids filled their backpacks with books, stuffed animals, bathing suits, and socks in preparation for our trip. (We aren’t leaving anytime soon, so I won’t bother adding underwear and actual clothing yet! And since we began a new tradition by adopting two elves this afternoon, I guess I’ll be packing them, too?!)


Another big piece of the holiday season that I treasure is “The Nutcracker.” Every Saturday since September, I’ve been driving my daughter to rehearsals. It’s a big commitment for parents and children alike, but I have to admit that it appears to be worth it for everyone involved. I’m still amazed at my daughter’s dedication and bravery. I never would have had the courage (or the permission!) to perform on stage like that at her age. I’m so proud of all that she learns in the process of being part of a production. There are steps to know and music to memorize, but there is also camaraderie and cooperation. The children depend on one another, help one another, and have a whole lot of fun backstage. Last year it was like a big pajama party between scenes, and I have no doubt there will be merry memories made this time around, too. We’re just one week away from showtime, in fact!


Wherever you live, I hope you enjoy some holiday magic this season. Whether or not it involves elves, nutcrackers, trees, twinkle lights, or cookies, may this be a time of wonder, joy, and peace for you and your loved ones. Do you have treasured holiday traditions? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!


From me to you, here and now…