All the gifts are created or purchased and wrapped, meals are planned, the house is clean enough. I should feel accomplished and ready for the festivities, right? Especially since we do a very low-key celebration, consisting of home, food, games and family.
But I am not feeling very accomplished. Since we moved here almost 5 years ago, I have tried to create some December rituals we have enjoyed immensely. The children and I. The Studmuffin stays pretty uninvolved - he is rather grinch-like. Anyway, we start the month of December by listing activities we want to enjoy - looking at lights, reading stories, watching holiday movies, baking cookies. Then we listed each activity on a small piece of paper and put it in our advent house. Each day the kids would open the door and we would do the activity. We didn't do that this year - never bothered. Generally, since we do not adhere to any particular religious tradition, we acknowledge each December holiday - whether with a small ceremony, a meal, or just a story. This year the kids got their ornaments on St. Nick's day, we talked about Chanukah briefly, and the Solstice got a barely a nod - simply a little information about why it was important. Not even a small candle ceremony. We only baked a few cookies this year. I love holiday baking - why didn't I do it? I feel so - lazy!
By next year I will have a job (power of positive thinking), so the baking will likely be small again. But I am swearing to myself that our small ceremonies and rituals will have their place again - perhaps I will plan with some other families, to take a little of the burden off me. Having a husband who is uninterested in either spirituality or ritual leaves me bearing the brunt of our children's spiritual upbringing and I fear, having no obvious path myself, that I am falling short in this area. This is not an open plea for conversion, by the way, so please do not respond offering your own religion as a guide. I do not feel I need to inject a specific religion's tenets, only a spiritual background, a little magic, and the concept that life is not only what you can see. Obviously, I could use that little reminder myself. Spirituality is important to me, and the journey to find my own path has been as interesting and fulfilling these last few years as any church service ever was. I think, this month especially, I've forgotten how fulfilling an active spiritual life can be. That will most certainly be a part of my focus for the new year.
That, and finding a job.