5-18 Powell's City of Books, World's Largest Indie Bookstore by Judith Ashley and Sarah Raplee

Friday, December 15, 2017

Making Christmas: New Traditions

Hi, I'm Pippa Jay, author of scifi and supernatural stories with a romantic soul. The video above might be a little creepy for some (sorry), but The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of my family's favourite holiday films and one that comes out for Halloween and Christmas alike. But the principle behind the film and indeed this song - of Jack Skellington becoming entranced by the whole idea of Christmas and wanting to make it his own - definitely struck a chord with me (though I'm not about to go kidnapping Santa Claus and taking his place, lol).

Christmas as I was growing up was always a big family affair and not a religious one, and the same for my husband. But mine ended when I was eighteen with my parents' divorce, and shortly after that my mother's death. By that point I'd met my husband to be, and his family were quick to take me in and share their Christmas traditions with me. Again, a death brought that to an end. By this point, we were expecting our first child so everything was already due to change. As our own family grew, we brought in new traditions of our own to create our very own version of Christmas.

Each year we take our three children to buy a new decoration each so we can gradually replace old and broken ones. We set up the tree on the first weekend in December, with Christmas music playing, a box of chocolate or biscuits to eat while we work, and hot chocolate afterwards. My two eldest are now tall enough to reach the top of the tree so hubs and I only put on the lights and let them do the rest. The tradition of buying their own decorations means each year they pull out their previous ones and reminisce. It's both amazing and cute how they can remember when and where each one came from and who bought what!

In the days leading up to Christmas, we watch Christmas DVDs like the Polar Express, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, and various versions of A Christmas Carol. This year we have the added bonus of it being the anniversary of The Muppet Christmas Carol and our local arts centre showing an upgraded version on the big screen, and a special Christmas Eve reading of A Christmas Carol to add to the festivities (plus a new Star Wars film - yes, I know that isn't Christmassy but that's also become a bit of a Christmas tradition now thanks to Disney).

And last year, this creation of our own personal traditions and what Christmas really means to me finally gave me an idea to write a scifi Christmas story of my own for my main fictional couple, who faced a similar dilemma. Both had lost family and friends along the way, and given up the traditions and holidays of their worlds, and with children of their own the concept of creating a celebration of their own came to mind. I'd planned to do an official release next year, but for a limited time I'm going to make the original version available to read again if you click HERE. But it'll only be up for a week (until the 22nd) so if you want to read it you'll have to be quick!

 While 2016 sucked on the political and celebrity front, 2017 has been hard on a much more personal scale. Fortunately we seem to have put the worst behind us now and I'm hoping to have a very good Christmas with my immediate family. May the holidays bring you happiness too, whether you celebrate something different or nothing at all.


Judith Ashley said...

Pippa, my family Christmas traditions came to a halt when my Dad died. We made an effort to carry on but... Then when my Mom died in 2002, things fell even more apart. This year I see some new traditions take place. My oldest granddaughter has raided (with my blessing) stacks of bins of Christmas decorations. They are going to a new home and becoming a part of a blending of two more people's traditions. I know my parents would be delighted to know ornaments they cherished are seeing the light of day.

Sarah Raplee said...

I loved that story, Pippa! I want to go read it again!

Maggie Lynch said...

Holidays are certainly full of memories--childhood, young adulthood, blended families. I do think traditions are important if they bring you joy.

I must admit to missing the traditional tree and seeing ornaments my husband and I have collected during our lives. Some favorites each of us have before we married, and then ones collected during our marriage over the last 17 years. We are currently in a very small place with no space for the tree or much of any decoration this year. But even before this we had stopped putting up a tree because of various health problems and all it took to decorate and undecorate.

So, we are making some new traditions--traditions that involve relationship and time together rather than depending on objects that hold memories. Sometimes it's a special dinner out on Christmas eve. One year we took a one-week vacation that extended from a few days before Christmas to several days after. Our Christmas was spent in a beautiful historical inn that had decorated everywhere. It was like a Hallmark movie. :)

I hope whatever you choose to do brings you peace. I've downloaded your story. I DO enjoy the Nightmare Before Christmas. I'll likely read your story when I have some minutes on Christmas day and vow not to do any writerly work. Thank you for sharing it.

Diana McCollum said...

Great blog post, Pippa! I love the Nightmare before Christmas! I used to watch it every year with my daughter's three kids. Since we moved to Oregon, I no longer get to do that.

I love decorating for Christmas. I love baking for Christmas, although I don't do near as much as most of our family lives far away.

And ornaments! Yes, I love them each one has a memory attached. So hard to part with until they break.

Happy holidays to you and your family!

Pippa Jay said...

Changes in circumstances often force us to rethink celebrations, not always for the bad. Thank you for reading, and Merry Christmas to you all!