Here at Primal Dawn Headquarters we take it super easy during the holidays. We don’t stress it, we don’t buy a bajillion gifts for every single person our children know, we don’t sweat cards (although we may send a few out). I find the holiday hustle and bustle that we think of as just coming with the territory as completely unnecessary! We do our shopping online where we can, we do it early, and we only get gifts for immediate family and grandparents. That’s it. It’s not that we don’t love all of you, it’s just that once we add this person, then we add that person, and Primal Dawn has a huuuuuge blended family so that can get really expensive really quick.
So, on the topic of traditions. I have to confess something. I’ve recently become pagan….ish. I don’t like labels, and I hesitate to lump myself in with a group that contains Wicca, witches, and wizards simply due to the eyebrow-raising factor. BUT….after being a spiritual nomad searching for so very long for something that spoke to me, I found paganism. More specifically, I seem to vibe to a green, earth, or even kitchen path! Buddhism spoke to me for a bit, but I found it to “hands off” for me. I like to feel like I’m one with and part of the universe, and that’s what paganism has given me. It’s simple for me: I was born of this universe and am of it, how could I not contain all of that energy and power within me? I love the naturalism and earth vibe of it. I care for the earth and am concerned with its wellbeing, which I considered tied to my wellbeing. I’m teaching my children to be kind to nature (even trees and ants!), and my oldest in particular has been very curious, which is unusual for him. He’s actually asking about rituals and we talk about nature and the circle of life. He even asked to perform a candle ritual for his class for their English studies! We lit a candle, said a few words, and meditated, then released our good intentions out into the universe to work on his class. It was very sweet, very innocent, and for once I didn’t feel uncomfortable or like I didn’t know what to say to my kid about my spirituality! I won’t push my beliefs on them, because I believe in giving knowledge and letting them decide for themselves, but if he’s curious, I will more than happily indulge him 😀
So, this is what the holidays look like around here: Christmas Eve we just sort of hang out. Play games or whatever. J gets picked up by his dad in the morning/early afternoon and then he opens gifts with his dad’s family, and comes home late that night to enjoy Christmas morning here with us. Christmas morning, the boys get up and are allowed to dig in to their stockings while we get up and get coffee going. FYI: you wish I did your stocking for you. I always overdo it. Seriously, I have no idea of the cubic capacity of a freakin’ stocking! This year, I went so far overboard, I may have to just randomly toss odd little stocking stuffers into gift bags! It’s like the gift, and the bonus!! There have been years where I have had to just lay the extra stuff on the stairs too. Like stocking tied up to banister, with overflow spilling over to the steps.
After stockings, we go downstairs where the tree is and one of the boys (usually J) hands out presents one at a time. Then after everything is open, we all vegetate. I cook some brekkie, usually some fried potatoes with eggs. This year, I may do sausage gravy and primal biscuits. Then we commence, after the vegetating, then comes the ROTTING. WE DO NOTHING. We don’t get out of our jammies, we don’t worry about meals, we snack all day, we watch tv, we play games, we play with our new stuff, we just basically keep it chill for the whole damned day. And I love it.
This year money was a little tighter, so we had a strict budget for both boys. However, when I wrapped everything, I think we did alright! One thing I focused on this year with T-Lo was ‘active toys’. Anything to get him moving physically. I got a hippity hop, we got a zip-line for the backyard, a mini trampoline, jump rope….anything to get that boy moving his bod. When he’s active, his behavior is better and his coordination and strength improve, which are a huge issue for him. He has very poor trunk strength from his prematurity, and he has sensory integration issues which can kind of look like attention deficit, but it’s not the same. Don’t ask me how, I just know it’s not autism or attention deficit. Yet. J got his usual video games/media stuff and science toys and books! I got him prepared microscope slides and a human body model and a few board games and a sci-fi series by Isaac Asimov for younger readers.
So yes, holidays this year are good for us. We’ve also been charitable this year. We adopted a family in our community that were struggling. A family with 2 young children and a father in Afghanistan. It pains me to think that this country doesn’t take care of the men and women who sacrifice themselves for us. I know it’s not all military families, but I found one right here at home that weren’t making ends meet. So we helped. Then….just last week, T-Lo’s bus came and the bus driver and assistant were practically in tears as they told me that a little girl who rides with T-Lo’s house burned down not even 7 hours before the bus pulled up. They pulled up to the home and there was NO HOME. It was gone. I put the word out on facebook (it’s good for something!) and I ended up collecting a bin of clothing for the little girl, we donated some of my clothing for the mother, some toys, I got blankets, and a gift card. I am completely amazed at how quickly it came together and how many people helped out! Every time the bus pulls up, I give the assistant another donation. And it makes me feel good to know I’m helping out someone who lives right here in my neighborhood. And I didn’t even need to go through any charity. No overhead or agenda. I have a huge issue with certain religious charities who exclude certain groups. I don’t want my money supporting discrimination. I don’t judge those who choose to donate to religious charities, they do good, but my family chooses not to support those types of companies or charities. Secular is the way to go for us, but you may not feel the same. And that’s okay. As long as you’re helping!! 🙂