Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tradition: Winter Solstice and Christmas Adam

We are right in the middle of  Christmas week and I am so enjoying my favorite traditional celebrations.  In the last few months our lives have been changing and somewhat uncertain.  In the midst of job changes, listing our home, house hunting and preparing to move, it's lovely to have tradition to mark the time as special.  Just a month or so ago we thought we'd be celebrating this holiday season in a different place.  Being here for Christmas feels we've been given an extra special gift.

We held our Winter Solstice party, December 21, as normal this year, inviting friends, family and, basically, everyone we meet or have ever known.  This is our eleventh year celebrating with those we love in this way.  The menu is always different, the guest list grows and the guests change but our desire to share our home and make people feel special remains the same.  This year over 40 friends, neighbors and relatives came to celebrate with us.  It was the first year that we've had relatives join us!  My sister and her children came.  Our families are so far flung having my sister here was an extra special treat. 

It was a bittersweet night.  There's a for-sale sign in our yard.  The moving van will be here December 26-29.  For so many of these friends, it was our time to say goodbye.  Inviting them in, giving them food and drink, telling them how much they mean to us seemed like a perfect offering of my time and talents.  We laughed.  We cried. It was a great night.

Today, December 23, we celebrated Christmas Adam.  Christmas Adam is our time for family celebration.  We celebrate Christmas Adam by being together, eating together and doing our Christmas shopping together.  We began Christmas Adam many years ago to save my sanity and our pocketbook while still enabling the children to buy gifts for each other and for us. 

We go out to lunch together and then head to the dollar store for our shopping extravaganza.  Each child buys for all their siblings and each parent.  Part of the fun is the spy like behavior trying to get through the store and to check out without revealing the presents.  The other joy if finding just the right, unexpected thing for each and every person in the family. 

As we were leaving for lunch today, we got a call from our realtor letting us know that the closing on our new home had been scheduled for December 30 at 4pm.  That call gave us an extra something to celebrate!  We laughed our way through lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant ordering the things we always order when we go there.  Shirley Temples for the children, cheese quesadilla for M6, tacos de carne asada for S8 and M11, shrimp quesadilla for K14 and fajitas and margaritas for R and me. 

Full of food and cheer, we were ready to face the crowds at The Dollar Tree.  This year everyone was old enough that R and I were able to stand by the registers while the children shopped.  M6 only needed help one time retrieving something on a shelf that was out of her reach.  Each child found just the right gift for everyone on their list and we all left the store with our loot and lots of "You are going to LOVE what I got you!" comments.

Tomorrow will be a special day, full of anticipation and joy but those are traditions we share with so many others.  Common ground is lovely but those special days that we've claimed for our family are what make memories that are just for us.

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