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Setting Priorities at Christmas, or “don’t sweat the small stuff!”


The way my husband and I celebrate the Christmas season has been changing over the past few years.

This is due to our children settling in different parts of the world.  Gathering as a family has become more challenging, requiring a lot more planning, budgeting, time, and travel.

christmas family

We have had to take a hard look at what the holidays mean to us, and what our priorities are and should be. What traditions should be kept, and which ones can be dropped.

This year we are fortunate to be able to travel over to Norway to celebrate the holidays with our son and family in a ski chalet in the mountains.

Every day for the last 3 weeks or more, my husband has provided me with an update on the search for a turkey that has been going on in his family. There has apparently been a shortage of turkeys in Stavanger, Norway, where his family is from.  Traditionally, Norwegians eat roasted pork ribs or pork belly on Christmas Eve.

Thankfully, this morning my husband announced that the search has ended with success!

This focused effort runs a close second to the desire to have a real Christmas tree. Since we are travelling, there was no point to putting one up this year.  But it’s certainly been on our minds.  Before flying over, we’ll be joining our other son’s family for a pre-Christmas gathering. Since they have a toddler and 2 year-old, the tree was chopped from their list of Christmas must-haves.  If our destination cabin will have a tree is anyone’s guess.

Much of my own energy this time of year goes into pouring over recipes, baking cookies and cakes, like my german mother used to make.

This has all made us realize that we have a lot of emotional attachments around how we choose to celebrate the season, whether it centers on turkeys, trees, cookies or gift giving.

In the end, we’re just glad that won’t have to celebrate by ourselves.  Christmas is really more about families and less about the stuff.

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