Now that December is here and there's really no escaping what's around the corner, I've noticed a bit of talk about holiday traditions around the place (like this sweet little post by Lauren Soponis, or this one by Samantha Marie). Traditions might be big or they might be small, they might be stern faced and serious or they might be frivolous and silly, but whatever they are these are the things that anchor us and that bind us - they say 'we are creating something together, we share something'. And they also help say something about a commitment to the future, they take us beyond the right now.
I've always loved xmas, and I've always loved those little things that we did as a family that marked out this time of year as different to any other. I have fond memories of special summery breakfasts at Mums and of late afternoon gatherings at a house near the beach, a welcome end to a day usually packed with long drives, strange relatives and too much food. But, life has changed a bit over the past few years...
When I moved in with with my (now) husband, it was one of those insta-family deals. He came complete with two beautiful sons and his (now) ex wife, the boys lovely creative mum. Yes, it was (and still is) at times awkward and nerve-wracking and heart-wrenching, but on the whole we make it work and I am so grateful that my husband and step-sons and Pepe have let me be a part of it all.
Anyway, clearly thinking that there hadn't been quite enough change in our lives, it wasn't long after moving in together that my husband and I decided to leave Australia and go live in Hong Kong. New family, new country, new adventures...new traditions, including moving our xmas celebrations abroad (complete with step-sons and Pepe)!
Helping to create new traditions, festive and otherwise, has been one of the things I've really enjoyed over the past few years. Just little things that mean a lot - to me at least!
New tradition number one is The Great Advent Calendar. It started last year when I saw a photo of a giant advent calendar in Living etc, it was huge and tree shaped and made of felt and it had a pocket for each day that you could fill with all kinds of fun stuff. And I thought 'yeah, I can make that'. So I did.
And I also decided that each year I'd add a little something to it. This years addition is some toadstools on the tree trunk. I'm really pleased with how they turned out. I think I might do some toadstool brooches for the Etsy shop, one day.