When Bean was just a babe, and I was spouting off about not having anything to do with that Santa stuff, my Mum stated that she hoped I would relent and let our child and ourselves enjoy the magic of the season and even Father Christmas. I poo pooed her thoughts right up to about Thanksgiving the first year and then, remembering the magic this time of year held for me as a child, I didn’t just relent, I embraced the season. Now, as the parent of a toddler, figuring out how to handle the crazy consumerism, the Santa/tree obsessed toddler and our spiritual humanist leanings it takes some thought to create traditions that reflect our beliefs. Add to the mix that Tucson isn’t exactly a Winter wonderland and the Yuletide traditions that I grew up with and love don’t make as much sense here in the desert and finding balance takes a concerted effort.
So what are we taking time to attend to at this year? Our families, our friends, to reconnect, to celebrate the lengthening of days, the earth, and to focus on and provide for those who are not as fortunate as us. As parents we want to encourage Bean to see this as a season of delight and as a time to give back. Traditions and rituals are important, so this season we continue a concerted effort to build our families traditions here in the desert. Tucson has some fabulous homespun family events that got us off to a good start.
Last weekend we attended the first Tucson based dance-along Nutcracker. A dance studio downtown opened its doors, and allowed kids of all ages to delight in the music of The Nutcracker. We donned tutus and wands (and I do mean we, there were folks of all ages in tulle) and joined total strangers and friends in prancing around the studio. Bean had a fabulous time. The following night we headed down to our friends home to indulge some soup and chili before heading out to Tucson’s very homespun Downtown Parade of Lights. Groups of all sorts get together deck out their bikes, their old cars, their buses with lights and parade in festive mood around downtown. Both events collected donations and canned food for the Community Food Bank. Bean and I also went to our friends second annual cookie decorating get together. So far Bean is getting that the season is about friends, taking care of those that don’t have as much, and lights, boy does she love the lights! I feel like our traditions are beginning to coalesce. Hopefully, we will find a balance.