It’s a common sight this time of year—my daughter quietly lurking near our Christmas tree, shaking each present in hopes of figuring out what may be waiting for her. One look at my 5-year-old and I’m instantly taken back to my childhood and the many years of snooping.
The handmade ornaments that hang from the tree are some of the same creations I fondly remember making decades ago. Popsicle sticks, handprints and too much glitter remind me that my child is really a spitting image of me. And while so many of these traditions are passed down through generations, our family has found ways to create new memories.
Our holiday baking includes recipes from my grandmother. I remember spending hours in the kitchen with my own mother, recreating her signature butter cookies and toffee. And now my daughter get excited when we pull out our mixer, ready to recreate the family favorite. As we make dozens of baked goods for our neighbors, we also include some new favorites, blueberry breads and scones. It’s these little additions that help create our own traditions.
And while most homes are filled with extended families, ours looks a little different this year. Because we live thousands of miles from our families, we chose to have a quiet holiday season at home this year. On Christmas morning, we’ll be woken up by our daughter, eager to race downstairs to see what Santa has delivered. We’ll sip coffee and laugh as we watch her tear through too many presents and we’ll dig through our stockings, sampling chocolates at the crack of dawn.
And thanks to technology, we won’t feel lonely. We will Facetime our parents and watch as they open gifts from their granddaughter. We’ll feel like they are with us in our own family room, even though they may be several states away. This year will be different, but in a good way. As I look around my home, I fondly think of the wonderful Christmas memories that now span nearly four decades. The holiday season is all about traditions, and this year we’re creating the best kind–new ones woven throughout the old.