All of a sudden your family has grown up and the holidays are different!

It happens in a flash. They tell you it will. You know it will. You even know at the time that it is…and then, all of a sudden, you know it DID.

Your children have grown up. All of those years of anticipation and child-like joy about the holidays are over–actually have been for a number of years. You were just pretending they weren’t.

I’m sure you’ve figured out that “you” is me. With daughters at 24 and 20, you’d think I’d have dealt with this change sooner, but I think I was just trying to hang on as long as possible–to every “tradition” like new jammies for them to wear, eating the same dinner every Christmas Eve, eating Saint Lucia bread every Christmas morning, listening to the same Christmas music each year…

Now, for the first time in thirteen years, neither of my girls will be singing for our Christmas Eve service at church.

The Angel with Mary and Joseph

Popsicle stick Advent toys I made 23 years ago. I still put them out every year.

Neither of them will even be here. This Christmas Eve it will be just us and the baby in the manger. No cooking all day, keeping it warm while hurrying to and from the first service, home to have Christmas dinner with family and rush back to church for the candlelight performance. No prayers in the pews for healthy voices and calm nerves. It’s just us for Christmas Eve.

I’m sure many of my quilting friends now what I’m talking about, have been there, and maybe have the new round of grand-kiddos to share the excitement.

Change happens. There’s no denying it, not forever, anyway. When I think about our traditions now, I’m not so afraid to try something new. It’s still Christmas. What’s important has never changed and never will. Maybe I can focus on “new traditions” (oxymoron?) that place more meaning on the real reason we celebrate and let go of some of those time-intensive have-to’s. I mean, let’s face it, my Saint Lucia bread hasn’t risen right since we moved to our new house, ten years ago!

Jacquelyn in her Kirsten gown.

Jacquelyn in her Kirsten gown.

But it had become a tradition to laugh about the candle-lit flatbread with gooey orange icing and dried cranberries we were eating every Christmas morning!

So our girls would sleep in their white gowns and early in the morning they’d put crowns on their heads, tiptoe into the kitchen and make us something that looked like chocolate coffee and bring us a tray of goodies to “surprise” us Christmas morning, sorta like Kirsten (their American Girl) did.

The original cheetah, Paige, playing with the manger scene with Casey.

The original cheetah, Paige, playing with the manger scene with Casey.

Some years they’d have a song and dance made up–some years they’d just wing it. But it was always fun, if maybe not so tasty!

The flying cheetah--or the cheetah angel?

The flying cheetah–or the cheetah angel?

The little things!

The little things!

An ornament we made as gifts one year.

An ornament we made as gifts one year.

How did we not know she'd be an opera singer?

How did we not know she’d be an opera singer?

So it’ll be a quiet Christmas Eve, but a beautiful one, I know. There’s nothing like singing Silent Night by candlelight in our filled, beautiful church. Then on Christmas Day, our oldest will fly in from New York, the youngest and her boyfriend will pick her up at the airport, drive a few hours and our celebration with family will begin. We will have a new menu, new music, and some new people…and I think some new jammies will be in order!A Christmas Passed.Sign up to get an email when a new post goes live (about once a week).

Tell me about your Christmas traditions and ones you recommend starting!