We are all about starting new holiday traditions on the Crow Homestead. I will admit Christmas has been a bit complicated for us because it sometimes can be about things we are not fans of…… consumption and waste. But instead of being all bah hum bug we are finding ways to celebrate this wonderful season that resonate with us.
Traditions: This year we are starting a new tradition that I heard about on the radio; I believe it comes from Finland. On Christmas Eve everyone receives a book and after dinner everyone gets nice and cozy in their pajamas and cracks open their new book. I love this idea and it fits our desire to have a relaxed and enjoyable holiday.
A couple of years ago I started buying Mr. Crow either a holiday movie or a couple Christmas special t.v. episodes that we watch together on Christmas. We make sure to have a fully charged lap top and then watch the newest addition to our collection. This is a fun way to relax after a delicious meal, but also keep in the holiday spirit. If we have enough battery, we watch some more from our archive of holiday favorites such as Christmas episodes of The Simpsons, The Office and movies like National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, Scrooged (the one with Bill Murray), and Charlie Brown.
For several years we have focused on experiences or hand made gifts instead of something bought at a store. Sometimes we create group experiences and sometimes they are 1 to 1 with our family members.
Over the years we have tried many things. With Mr. Crow’s side we have done group experiences as they are a bigger group. Last year, we held the 2018 Summer Olympics. The kids played all sorts of fun and silly games at my parents’ pool. In 2017, we had a “Pool and Pollinator party” where we went on a hike and saw pollinators in a local park, swam in the pool and the kids got seeds to start a pollinator garden. The year before that, we had a picnic at a state park and then went on a bird watching hike. I gave the kids these stuffed animals from the Audubon Society to open during the gift exchange on Christmas and it was so cool how they were able to identify the calls of the birds they got once we were out hiking in nature!
With Dee’s kids, I have started doing 1 to 1 experiences. The kids don’t share that many interests and since there are only 3 kids on this side of the family it works better. With my eldest nephew, we signed up for a cooking class, where i gave him a general “cooking class” present and then we went online and found a class he was interested in. We went to “Italian Plates” at The Kitchen Window in Minneapolis and had a blast. Dee’s second born son is interested in falconry and so am I (cuz we’re cool like that!)! I bought him a membership with the The Minnesota Falconers Association and then we went to their annual Wild Game Dinner and Auction. We had a great time and we talked to a bunch of falconers. It definitely fueled our determination to get our falconry licenses!! My niece and I enjoyed time together at a lovely little place called Lady Elegants Tea and enjoyed a multi-course tea. It was so fun to try all the little baked goods and sugary treats!
Decorate: For years we didn’t even put up a Christmas tree, even though we live in a pine forest. We now put up some simple decorations made from things we have on hand and that create little waste. This year we used popcorn and cranberries to make garland and come January they will be enjoyed by the birds. We collected a couple small pine trees, balsam boughs and red willow from our property. We gathered up feathers from grouse and chickens, furs from snow shoe hares, cranberries and popcorn to dress up the greenery. Everything we used to make the house feel festive will go back into the homestead in the form of food and compost.
It is important to have traditions to celebrate the season. Most traditions are tied to culture, family and religion… but when needed you might have to make new traditions! Just don’t let go of celebrating with friends and family….it is really where the magic of the holidays is at!