Saturday, December 23, 2017

Building our Christmas traditions

This year the tree was in place early, before the husband's request to only set it until after his birthday because the toddler was insisting. There is something magic about lighting candles, taking out meaningful ornaments, looking forward to the light.

I have slowly started to build our little family's traditions. On the 24 I always, always make my mom's Spinach-Ricotta lasagne. The 25 in the morning we go to mass at the English speaking church. It is a very festive, joyful celebration, full of children and families of many nationalities. This year on the 26 we are also going to see a children's ballet perform "The Swan lake". Earlier in the season we already went to see "The nutcracker".

Photo from the Academy on Classical Russian Ballet of The Hague
 I am learning so much from being the mother of our little Yu. She is crazy about ballet so that makes me research and learn with her. I knew the music from the nutcracker (mostly from Fantasia) but I did not know the story. We got her this book (must be the book of the season because the English version is sold out everywhere) that explains the story and has little buttons to play the music and it is well... magic to see her dance and recognize the parts of the story that go with each piece.

We also organize a yearly posada, that is a Mexican celebration that represents the time when the Holy Family arrived in Bethlehem for the Roman census to ask for shelter. It is complete with a piñata and kids holding candles outside while they sing a special song.

Yulia has been very interested in the story of baby Jesus and so we have started a small collection of books on the subject. I particularly love Mischa Damjan's "The little seahorse and the christmas pearl" an allegory which narrates the journey of the little seahorse on his way to deliver a special present to the "christmas child" who was born at a stable in the name of all the sea creatures. I have also started collecting different handcrafted nativity sets or crèches. Whenever we visit a church we look for the "nacimientos".

Apparently they all went conga dancing.
 We also set the chrismas stockings my mom made  by the window, for lack of a chimney. It is hard not to succumb to the consumerism of the season, I am guilty of wanting everything I see, from that lovely scarf, to those earrings, to another costume for the toddler (dressup play is so fun), another couple of books and on and on and on. There are also 3 magical entities that show up with presents between the 5 of December and the 6 of January (Sinterklaas, Baby Jesus/the angels and the 3 kings), closely followed by Y's birthday in January.

However we have tried to follow the famous formula Want-Wear-Need-Read and we try to make sure that the girls get only 1 present per occasion. That means they will both get fancy matching dresses on the 24th, plus some Duplo for the toddler and a little thermos for the baby (how is she already on solid food!);  on the 25th the angels/baby Jesus will bring them a book, and the 3 kings will bring a toy to learn electricity for the toddler and some little boats to play during bath time for the baby. I tried to keep it simple and somehow it still feels like a lot.

Lastly, we really enjoy looking at the lights, christmas trees and decorations in the city. Last Friday we took a stroll around The Hague just to marvel at the lights.

What Christmas traditions do you and your family have? I wish you all the happiest holidays, all the light and love and peace.

The Pope is thinking what am I even doing here?

Magic fairy lights in one of Lisbon's main shopping streets .

1 comment:

  1. hola amanda!!! vi tu mensaje que lindo. disculpa si respondo hasta ahora hemos estado resfriados y con pocas ganas de celebrar jajaja, el cuerpo nos pide casa, calorsito y tranquilidad. Edo recibio un regalito y pues tu sbes, abuelos y conocidos tambien dan regalitos asi que .......este año monto una jugueteria. Veo que te gustan los nacimientos ami tambien!!!! si este año que viene viajo a Colombia y logro conseguirte uno seguro seguro te lo mando. Yo tenia uno que trajo mi esposo pero su ama se lo robo! jajaj.
    tus niñas están preciosas, que lindas. como pasa el tiempo y mas con niños.
    Espero estes bien en tu trabajo, te admiro con dos niñas y trabajando.
    un abrazo fuerte! me acorde de ti el otro dia que hacia unas galletas por que uso el molde de madera que me mandaste.


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