Friday, 6 December 2013

Retaining the Magic

Witnessing your child growing up is, of course, wonderful but there are bittersweet moments particularly at this time of year when there are no small children in the home. There's a large part of me that mourns those magical times when I had a believer, when the excitement was so palpable that my heart beat a little faster just by being in Cameron's presence as he contemplated the idea of Santa Claus, elves, reindeer and the rest of it. When a sparkly decoration could mesmerise him and the entire world felt enchanted.

As the years go by, St Nicholas is a little taken aback by the adult size 12 shoes polished and laid out by the fire and although the shoes are filled with clementines and chocolate coins just as they have been every other year something feels different.

I've been working hard on trying to find ways to reinsert a bit of magic into our traditions. We just have to think of things in new ways and learn to evolve, don't we - What would be the alternative?


hot chocolate and christmas stories

This year we have stumbled upon something that works - taking Cameron's love of literature, we have begun a little advent tradition of snuggling up in our pyjamas with a fancy hot chocolate while we share some festive short stories together. It's never more than an hour but it's something we do together - Cameron reads a story to me, I read to him, we enjoy the stories and chat about them afterwards. It's something so simple and yet it feels like a little bit of magic returns in that pocket of time before he goes to bed.

We've returned to a book we bought a couple of years ago containing a collection of short stories and extracts from Charles Dickens, folk tales and even Adrian Mole. We are really enjoying the variety.

While there's still a part of me that feels a little sad (or perhaps even, dare I say, broody) when I see spellbound children, eyes wide with excitement, I'm glad that we're both still willing to work on the holiday magic. That my cynical thirteen year old still wants to engage with this stuff is a sign that those memories and experiences were as moving and important to him as they were to me, I think.

How have your festive traditions evolved as your children have grown older? Do you have special ways to help keep the magic alive?

23 comments:

  1. I have no children at home and I do miss that littleness about at times. When they come home there are activities that we "have" to do and then I'm happy being with them remembering.

    Love your newish tradition with your son :)

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    1. That's lovely that they remember, Karen. I'm glad I'm not the only one to be feeling this way.

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  2. my middle one bless her told me Christmas day is a bit boring isnt it now ? we all know what we're getting and we know what we do with the day . . . . . need to think of something new to give it a kick start xx

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    1. Yes, there's definitely a point where it happens, I think. Good luck with finding something new :o)

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  3. I ride along on your coat tails to keep the magic alive! We have also begun a family relaxation night two nights a week where we take it in turns to talk the other two through a kind of homespun meditation. Two people lie on a sofa each and the other talks calmly about the season and we all relax and decompress. My seven year old has really taken to this and insists on being the one talking as Andrew and I relax under quilts. "It is Winter now. The animals are hibernating. Winter is a quiet time. We drink hot chocolate and wrap presents"! It's adorable when he does it!

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    1. Aww, Jules! That's lovely of you to say.
      Your meditation sounds delightfully calming.

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  4. Bittersweet indeed. Good for you trying to 'keep the magic' - my boy just had his last Santa visit - think he's started to feel self-conscious amongst the four year olds!! (he is 11 and a half now).
    It's really positive and proactive of you to look for alternative traditions for you both - and good parenting.
    Well done and have a lovely Christmas season Hannah.
    x

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  5. Christmas films but me in the mood but your very lucky Cameron will even sit and read stories with you, most boys his age wouldn't even give you the time of day, so in that respect your doing okay! :)

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  6. I never had children, but at 46 and 51, you'll never find a couple of bigger kids at Christmas than me and my husband. We even camp out in the family room with the Christmas tree, the fairy lights and the Christmas music starting Christmas Eve, usually for a few nights. Half of our family think we're made, the other half think it's a brilliant thing to do! Try it on Christmas Eve, make a big bed out of whatever you've got, snuggle down with warm drinks and watch Christmas movies. Then spend some of Christmas morning in your pj's while you open presents and eat mince pies! It's great fun.

    Hugs
    Brenda

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  7. I think my parents wish I would grow up a little bit! I still get just as involved now as I ever did although I'm now more helpful in the kitchen and wrapping departments than when I was younger.

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  8. I definitely understand as my children aren't little anymore. I miss those times especially at christmas.

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    1. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one, Amie x

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  9. I really miss those moments when my now 18 year old was younger. There are some things that we still do like going to the big light display each year, make our Advent Wreath, Bake cookies. It is harder now that she is older and works and goes to college but we try to make it a point to squeeze in the time somehow.

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    1. It's wonderful to hear that you've found ways to still do things together, Donna :o)

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  10. When my girls were about the same age as Cameron, we came across a book called 'The Christmas Mystery' by Jostein Gaarder. It is a good story for advent with a bit of a twist, its in 24 chapters so you can read a chapter each night. We read it nightly for many years. Funnily enough when my eldest was home a few weeks ago, she asked if she could take it back with her, and promised to bring it back so we can all listen to the last few chapters when she comes home for the christmas.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Christmas-Mystery-Jostein-Gaarder/dp/0753808668/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1386618802&sr=1-1&keywords=the+christmas+mystery+jostein+gaarder

    We also love going to get the tree and then decorating it together, listening to a CD of cheesy christmas songs - but this year they said I John and I could do all that before they come home :-(

    Jilly

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    1. How wonderful - thank you for sharing, Jilly :o)

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  12. Good morning, Hannah! What a delight to read of how you're keeping the magic of the holidays alive! Reading good stories is always nice, but accompanied by warm cocoa makes it even more special. :) A continued happy Advent to you and Cameron!

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