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.