A NEW KIND OF
Photo & Video: @punikasayshi
I remember, somewhat vaguely, the excitement of Christmas when I was a child. But with time, that sense of new delight has faded into a normalcy of the same traditions that I used to find so magical. As we get older we forget the wonder that this season can bring; we get bogged down in our work and our lives, and it becomes just another thing we have to deal with before the end of the year.
Sure, the holiday season can gain other important meaning for us — perhaps as a time to get together with rarely-seen friends and family, an excuse to travel or take time off to relax, etc — but almost everyone I know has found that with adulthood comes a loss of the fascination that this time of year once held. I admit that in years prior, I had forgotten to really appreciate the holidays the way I used to.
However, everything changed for Nate and me when Poppy came along — not just our daily routines, but also the myriad of ways in which we saw and interacted with the world. Suddenly, our experience of the world was expanded and enhanced. It was so evident during our first holiday with her that a little bit (ok, a LOT) of magic had been re-instilled into the season. And this year, with Pops just a little older, it’s been even more special.
As a baby and a toddler, she merely mimicked our excitement and relayed that into her own reactions, but she’s now at an age where she is coming to her own conclusions about things, and creating her own stories and ideas as she goes. I love the creativity with which she approaches everything we do — from hanging stockings, to decorating the tree, to telling Christmas and Hanukkah tales, to baking cookies. She looks at everything as though it’s the most exciting thing she’s ever done or seen, so those somewhat inconsequential things become magical to Nate and me too. Her wonder and joy are magnified tenfold for us, because she herself is just a source of wonder for us.
Considering Nate and I come from two different upbringings and cultures, it has been incredibly important for us to create our own traditions and ceremonies during the holiday season — traditions that will grow with our family and become a part of our annual routine. Ceremony has always been so important to me. There’s something about paying homage to a task that gives you an awareness of yourself and your actions that is so incredibly important. Giving even menial activities a bit of ceremony makes them feel special and important.
Poppy has given us a significant reason to create every day ceremonies in our lives, and it’s been so exciting to build our own family traditions around the holidays for her, and more importantly, with her. She’s constantly coming up with her own games and fancies that make the normal holiday minutiae (decorating, baking, etc) so much more special. I’m constantly amazed by the care in which she hangs glass ornaments on the tree, or helps stir a bowl of cookie dough, or creates little families out of our wool animal decorations. It’s a constant reminder that all of this is new to her, and newness is so enthralling and enchanting. Everyday, I hope and wish that she never loses that wonderment.
Whether or not you have a child, or a family, or even a holiday that you celebrate this time of the year, I encourage you to take a second this season to turn off the blinders that come with adulthood. Allow yourself to really take in something with new, fresh eyes, and to find a bit of wonder in something that might have previously felt mundane. Or perhaps come up with a new tradition or small bit of ceremony that brings you pleasure and peace. I can promise you that it makes everything feel a little lighter, more joyful, and a lot more extraordinary.
Happy holidays to you all — I hope it’s a truly magical one.