traditions runneth over

Saturday, we trekked through the forest and cut our trees. One for Agi's new house, one for our house and one for C, who got to choose his very own for his room.

Usually by the time the holidays actually arrive, I have been way overstimulated by our culture and wince at the sight of presents overflowing from underneath a tree. It's sad, really. I don't mean to sound so Bah Humbug. I truly do love family seasonal traditions, the spirit of giving and gathering, fresh fallen snow, warming toes by the fire ...

My irritable side dislikes the fact that Halloween is not even over before big box stores start shoving Christmas down your throat. I feel like Thanksgiving gets lost all together, just something to hurry over to get to giant red velvet bows, fake greenery and greedy consumerism. Buy this, buy that, every child MUST have this toy, blah blah blah. So many plastic, useless gifts that last a week {made in China} just because the recipient will have something with a to/from tag on it to give you. This isn't to say that I am against gifts, I just prefer ones with a little more thought and consciousness, the handmade kind or an activity that creates memories.

I'm a fan of Jenny's philosophy, spelled out here in her LobotoME blog entry from last year and revised again this year. Her 6 categories of giving and an experience-over-excess approach is a great start to simplifying the holiday hoopla and sparking new ideas for your own family traditions.

I think our sweet little street here in Lyons has started a new tradition or two. This was the second year we entered the Lyons Parade of Lights – and won a trophy! It is a hoot to get the neighbors together and string lights on our raft trailer, load up the kids {and the Bird Dog} and wave to the crowd in the crisp cool air. There's fireworks, carols and a lightshow afterward in the park. This will be the third year we gather everyone on Christmas Eve and go up to the mountains for a sleigh ride and ice skating.