Thank you so much for all of the heartfelt, wonderful comments. It is nice to know that we are not alone in our feelings and thoughts. Especially when they aren't the expected 'norm'. Your responses helped, huge! Today, the kids and I are delivering goodies to family and friends.. we bought tons of toys for the Toys for Tots, we have been singing carols (nothing makes me smile more than my 2 year old wailing out 'Jingle Bells' in the backseat.) and my 4 yr old daughter spent all evening making the cutest reindeer clothespin ornaments for all of her classmates. As you can see from above pic there isn't much to them. We used a gluestick, red pompoms, googly eyes (I just love those!) and antlers. The antlers in the photo are construction paper, but the ones she made for her class were from felt. (less likely to be torn) You can also attach a magnet to the back and put them on your fridge. We clipped a small note that said 'Merry Christmas Love Taylor' in their 'mouth'.
I mentioned that we were a 'churchless' family in my last post and it sparked quite a few comments and emails. Allow me to explain... As a child, my parents and I didn't attend church, but when my parents were growing up they certainly did. My grandfather was a very prominent member of his church and my maternal grandmother was deaconess of her church for many years. But, I think due to all the moving (USAF) we did not attach ourselves to a congregation or building. And with that, we didn't have those community ties that are so intricate in many lives. Regardless of my own personal views I have been teaching my children (within certain frameworks) about the meaning behind Christmas and that it is the celebration of Jesus's birth. Jesus was a real man, who made real changes for humanity and we do celebrate that along with the changing of the seasons.
Just within my own and my husband's immediate family we have so many religious beliefs represented... Jewish, Mormonism, Protestant, Christian, Atheist, Jehovah Witness.. so I can not say that my beliefs are the 'correct' belief, as then I would be inferring that others that I love so dearly are 'wrong'.. how can I do that? but how on earth can 'everyone' be right? That would also conflict with the very essence of most beliefs.. I have yet to figure it out for myself, so therefore, religion is just a place I don't go to very often. So above, all else, I am trying to teach compassion, understanding and respect for everyone, regardless of their religious views. Mind you, I DO NOT condone any religion that encourages the segregation or harming of others.
Other than that, I won't share anymore with you in regards to my religious beliefs and practices. Similiar to politics, they are just too personal for me to share in such an open forum. I realize this is my own blog and I can do/say as I wish, but I encourage and enjoy readers from all countries and walks of life to visit and return. I do understand that if you try to celebrate 'Christmas' without 'Christ' there is definitely going to be a emotional gap in the season, such as it would be for any religion to celebrate their respective holidays. That hole, I think, is filled within my family. Thank you for your concern and willingness to help. Such kindness is not found easily and I appreciate it so much! Your passion and conviction of belief is a wonderful and treasured thing. Thank you for sharing with me. It truly makes me smile.
The traditions that you shared also made me smile.. so many wonderful moments. I read in a past Victoria magazine that a woman wrote down small notes and thoughts about the holiday/year and kept them with the Christmas decorations. Every year, when they would open the decorations they would read the notes and be reminded of the small, special things that happened in the previous years. She said after one of her children passed away, that those notes became so priceless to her and her family.
I hope that you make smiles, give hugs, and keep sharing so much of yourselves this season with others. Sometimes just speaking or writing our beliefs, feelings and thoughts outloud helps us reafirm our lives and purpose. (even if we are completely confused!) :)