The last few years I've tried something different during December. I started stepping away from the modern, commercialized version of Christmas in favor of a more traditional path.
My journey started with my mother, who is a treasure trove of family Christmas traditions going back generations. She sparked my interest in learning more about the traditions that we have forgotten. I avoided all the trendy magazines, you know, the ones that tell you that the latest trend is how to cheaply decorate your home with toilet paper because it's great fun for the kids, it replaces costly ribbons, and it stays away from those offensive red and green colors, while adding a touch of whimsy and elegance to your decor.
I not only researched customs from my German heritage but from a broad base of countries and cultures. I also observed how people celebrate right here. Then I compared what I saw, my own experiences and the complaints people have, versus what people did 30, 50 and 100 years ago as well as what they are doing in other countries. So I thought I'd give a few of the old customs and traditions a try.
This is what I've learned. Will power: people talk about teenage peer pressure, but they have never met peer pressure till it comes to conforming to the modern, all inclusive, fast paced, trendy, I have to be first Christmas and its not the stores.
Listening to people, often reminds me of the Price is Right, who can be the closest to having Christmas earlier without going over. I think "going over" has been pushed to sometime before Halloween. I've never seen anyone win anything by being the earliest.
Patience: Waiting till Christmas Eve to actually celebrate Christmas and having to repeatedly justify to people, what I am doing, why I am doing it. All the while, having people trying to talk over me with how much earlier or how trendier they are.
Self Control: being able to say "no" to holiday treats and "yes" to exercise.
What I've gained from the experience: Anticipation, like I did when I was a child. Self satisfaction, of having waited. Self esteem at losing 14 pounds. Relief of not having to cram (everything) before or all of Christmas into one day.
The journey has been a positive one and I look forward to learning more.