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Changing Family Traditions

As our family ages, its traditions are shifting. Christmas has always been celebrated at our house with gift opening in the morning and a huge feast in the evening.

Even when we were newlyweds, 36 years ago, everyone came to our house. I loved to do all the cooking. And trust me when I say it was better that way. Some of the cooks in our family could kill you.

We put up a very small tree this year that I’d describe as modest and petite, but it does border on Charlie Brown compared to years past.

Small Christmas Tree on TabletopI used to bake dozens of cookies, tarts and other goodies that I’d wrap and gift to neighbors. We always had plenty for our family to gorge on. This year I only made one batch of cookies and it was for a cookie exchange.

The frantic pace of previous years… shopping, wrapping, excessive decorating and general craziness just didn’t happen this year.

Traditions at the holidaysThe table linens still got ironed. The silverware was still polished and the chandeliers still got cleaned. But this time it was for back to back sit-down dinner parties with our friends instead of family. I truly love to host these kinds of events. All burners were fired up on the stove and fine wine was served.

Holiday Cooking and WineMy daughter is traveling again this Christmas, and it’s hard not having her here. We all miss her. She’s off on an amazing adventure through Central America…surfing down volcanos and boating on rivers filled with crocodiles.

My husband’s relationship with his sister seems to be permanently strained since the death of their brother so she won’t be here this year.

And so… for the day… Christmas Day… I invited us to my son and daughter-in-law’s house.  It feels a bit like passing the baton. One I didn’t see coming and that has me feeling a bit odd.

Life stages, aging and changing priorities are all familiar to me. But this honestly feels sort of sad. I can’t explain why it does because I’ll be spending the time with my son, daughter-in-law and Grandson, who I adore to distraction.

Adorable ChildIt’s just a change in tradition which takes adjusting to. Sometimes it feels there have been too many changes this year, and that’s when I know I need to give myself quiet time to rebalance.

Have your family traditions changed this year?

Jennifer Connolly

Jennifer Connolly celebrates the unique experience of women over 50. As a Certified Image Consultant and Personal Stylist, she empowers women to develop their image, personal style and self confidence. Her blog, A Well Styled Life, gives women the tools to appreciate their beauty and fully embrace the joys of midlife. Jennifer is a blogger, writer, wife, mom, grandmother. Pro-aging troublemaker, searching for the perfect foundation shade since 1973. Instagram: awellstyledlife

Jeanne Tapp

Thursday 10th of December 2015

Jennifer, I enjoyed reading your post about changes in your holiday patterns. While I'm not there yet, I can anticipate something like that in our future. While change may be difficult and cause reflection, many times I've found changes to lead to something good!

Beth Havey

Thursday 10th of December 2015

Hi Jennifer, having children who are successful and leading lives that they have dreamed about ALWAYS changes traditions. This year our celebration will be smaller, as our older daughter and our son won't be back in California to celebrate with us. Carrie was here in October and will stay on the east coast and Andrew was also here in October, and will be in Des Moines with his girlfriend's family. But that's okay--we will miss them, but our Christmas Eve will include our grandchildren, my brother and his wife and a few new friends.

Enjoy, Beth

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