>> 12.02.2009

...every beating heart in the hundreds of thousands of breasts there, is, in some of its imaginings, a secret to the heart nearest it.
Charles Dickens

While I was pregnant I spent a lot of time, as most pregnant women do, wondering how the future would look: How would we interact and relate with our children? How will we respond to their hopes and dreams? How will we respond to their fears and their transgressions? What will it feel like to sit around our family dinner table? How will we spend our time together? What will fill those quiet in-between moments only a family shares in together? What memories will we create? What will our holidays look like? What will our traditions be?

I am looking so forward to carrying on old holiday traditions in our family.. as well as creating new ones of our very own. An article I read recently in Blush magazine (you can read it in their virtual magazine on page 22- pretty neat) planted at least one idea for a new tradition in my mind.

The author of the article is discussing her family's tradition of writing "unwrappable" wish lists. Things like favorite holiday foods you wish to make or places you wish to go, a movie you would like to watch, or an activity you are hoping to do together as a family could be included... or perhaps you are a global thinker (Amy Grant would be proud) and would like to wish for world peace or a cure for AIDS.

I really liked this idea. I absolutely love the holiday season... but, oddly, I can only remember a handful of the presents I received under our Christmas tree. What I remember is... falling asleep in a sleeping bag by the fireplace while watching It's a Wonderful Life, giggling with my brother while we tried to decide who was going to wake my parents up, baking big, soft ginger cookies with my mom, playing in the snow, and going to look at Christmas lights in our new pajamas on Christmas eve.

I have so many of these sorts of memories.. I could not even begin to share them with you all and yet so very few of them have anything at all to do with things.

Everyone is always complaining that the holiday season has become overly commercialized and lost its meaning, but I am not entirely sure I agree. Businesses do their very best to convince us that the holidays are about giving and receiving presents- the bigger (and more expensive) the better. Americans are supposed to love each other in dollar signs because that helps a free market economy stay on its feet, I suppose. But.. it has nothing to do with me or you.. or anything at all, really. I believe that if you take a moment to think about your favorite holiday moments... they will still have very little to do with any particular present.. and even if it does, it was probably more about the moment- the thought that was put into it and the love the surrounded it- than the actually object itself. We just... forget that sometimes.

Our family holidays will end up looking like so much else in our lives- an eclectic mix of various ideas that we have stitched together to create something of our very own. A little Advent here- a little Solstice there- old traditions and new- some gifts made with love, some time spent together... and a few shiny new toys for good girls and boys. No need to get stressed out. No need to go into debt. Simple and Special.

This "unwrappable" wish list is a lovely way to remind ourselves what is important at the end of that proverbial day. So.. I will share my list with you little by little throughout this Advent season, and I hope you will share yours with me in return.

Happy Holidays from our little peppermint twist!


~gretchen~ December 2, 2009 at 3:19 PM  

that made me cry! one of the things from christmas that i remeber as being very special, was when i was 6 or 7 i asked for a new teddy bear with a bow, (i already had about 20) but i wanted a brand new one. my mom was a single mom and didnt have alot of money even though she still seemed to spoil me on christmas. well she didnt get me a new teddy bear, but when i came out that morning she had arranged ALL of my old teddys under the tree and every one had a different bow tied around its neck!

liam looks like a little elf in that hat! i love it!!!

Lindsey December 2, 2009 at 5:13 PM  

I am giving you an award. It's in my latest post. Come get it!

stumbull December 2, 2009 at 5:51 PM  

I agree wholehartedly. All of my favorite memories have nothing to do with things I got! Thanks for the reminder and for the great idea. Look at how cute Liam looks in his hat!!!

MEWoodward December 2, 2009 at 7:56 PM  


I am looking forward to reading your posts in this Advent season :)

Becky December 3, 2009 at 1:10 AM  

I can't think of a better attitude to have this holiday season! Thanks for posting this!

P.S. Boys are always plotting mischeif. Its good you learn that lesson now!

Toni December 3, 2009 at 5:16 AM  

I almost feel like I'll clutter up this beauty with my words, but thank you so much for sharing this.

When I think back, they are the special moments with family and friends that I recall. Thanks, again, Michelle, for shedding light this holiday season. :)

KarmaPearl December 3, 2009 at 8:26 AM  

You're so right. I only remember a handful of gifts, but it's the season itself I remember. When I was little, Christmas seemed to last forever. I remember putting up our tree, spending time with my family and singing carols around the piano. I remember laughing and playing with my cousins and snowball fights.. The toys have been long forgotten, but the memories live on. Yay for holiday traditions! Great post, Michelle.

Lisa December 3, 2009 at 10:23 AM  

Love it, great sentiment! You are absolutely right. I remember all the family reunions and time with cousins. I only vaguely remember the gifts.

And I just have to say, I love the photos you get of your little one. They are gorgeous. He's such a charmer!

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