Christmas is a big deal for me. Throughout the years, even in family turmoil, Christmas always felt like such a special and promising feast day. Plus there are all the traditions, and you know by now how much I LOVE traditions.
Of course a lot had to change when I moved to the USA three years ago. The songs I used to hear on the radio I now had to seek out. Some of the things that were very common place in Belgium were hard to find here, or uncommon.
We managed to incorporate Saint Nicholas' feast day (I will post more about this later) from the beginning, even when we did not have children yet. And our church is great about advent celebrations.
But the 'main part' of the christmas celebrations took place 'home' in Belgium, so most of the traditions stayed the same. This year however, being eight months pregnant at the time, I can't travel to Belgium.
In a way it felt like the right time for this change. With one little boy running around and a second one on the way, it was time for our family to create our own traditions and to become the center of celebrations. My mom would be coming over for Christmas as would my in laws, possibly my sister in law.
I was preparing for a small christmas eve dinner amongst the three of us, a simple but festive breakfast, and then in the afternoon the big gathering of all my family around us. We would buy a tree this year, which we neglected to do since we were only home for about two weeks between Thanksgiving (another new tradition) and christmas.
Things changed however. My mother fell prey to the economy and was laid off. Luckily she immediately found a new job. Only the new job is with a church, which means she can't be here until the 27th. My in laws schedule changed only slightly, but the were supposed to arrive on the 25th. Then those plans changed and they would arrrive on the 27th as well. And now life has intervened again, and there is some serious doubt if they can come at all...
I am by now slightly puzzled how to get the true family involvement in the day that I remember from my own childhood. I do not want it to be just about presents. Church and Jesus' birth must be our first priority, the celebration of that as a family second. But... how to do that with your family miles away on the first christmas that Joseph might be aware that something is going on?
I am thinking a birthday cake for baby Jesus is going to be a must. Maybe even a birthday breakfast... And of course the nativity scene is going up, as well as Joseph's smaller play nativity scene. But the day itsself seems hazy in what we shall do about it. It seems... empty with just the three of us, and I feel it is my task to fill it with the christmas meaning, somehow. I don't want the three of us ending with mass in the morning, and then ... hanging around the house watching tv and waiting for Christmas to be over, with maybe a TV turkey dinner. I just don't know how to throw a christmas for two adults and a child only.