Jeremy and I have always been SUPER relaxed about holidays in Zambia. Our first thanksgiving together, before we were ever married, we shared a feast of glazed carrots, sautéed potatoes and wild bush mushrooms. It was deliciously unconventional. We’ve exchanged gifts for Christmas… um… never. Rarely do we go buy something for anniversaries or birthdays. We prefer to save our pennies and instead make memories through fun and unique experiences rather than give something for giving-something’s sake.
When Bronwyn came along, I felt a certain responsibility to create for Bronwyn a whole package of traditions for every holiday that she would grow to remember and think back on fondly instead of always wondering why she had to grow up with the weirdo parents who don’t seem to take any holiday seriously whatsoever. Last year, I stressed about it. Thanksgiving was a total botched job. We had plans and the plans didn’t go according to plan and I’ll spare you the details, but it involved us eating Thanksgiving-ish food out of Tupperware containers, in the car with mom quietly crying and mourning the train-wreck of her daughter’s first major holiday. Christmas was significantly better. (It was actually blog-able: here, and here.)
This time around, Bronwyn is one year older, we are one year wiser, and we’ve made a few main decisions.
We’ve decided that developing traditions does not mean we have to pre-decide what those traditions are and do the same thing from now until eternity. What we do and how we do it may look completely different from year to year.
Nevertheless, we do want to have a handful of constants with each major holiday every year. These constants come in the form of three general goals:
*Goal 1: Enjoy whatever it is we end up doing. When one thing stops being fun, move on and don’t worry that we’ve just trashed what could have been the forever Colvin tradition! (Right now we are obsessed with all things Veggie Tales. I assume we will outgrow that one day.)
**Goal 2: Dig deeper into the true meaning. What’s thanksgiving about anyway? Why turkey? What’s Christmas for... really? I mean, Jesus was not born on December 25th! Dig, dig, dig.
***Goal 3: Engage others in the journey. While we enjoy time with our nuclear family, reaching out to our friends and neighbors is important to us. When we come up with a fun way to celebrate or a compelling way to share what we think the true meaning is, we want to share that with people outside of our home!
So this thanksgiving, we had fun. We wanted a Mexican fiesta and brownies and so by gum that’s what we ate. (*Goal 1 check.)
We had approximately 4,000 talking hours worth of conversation about Black Friday and consumerism and what kinds of things fuel a lifestyle of gratitude and what kinds of things suck the thanksgiving joy from our souls. (**Goal 2 check.)
|sometimes our conversations are so|
enthralling that the munchkin just
passes right out!
We invited people to the Learning Resource Center and had a super fun time with our neighbors listing off God’s blessings to us and learning why remembering God’s goodness is essential to living a faith-filled life. (***Goal 3 check.)
(GO READ THE CHOSHEN FARM POST ABOUT THE THANKSGIVING PROGRAM… this is why were are here, ya'll.)
I think Bronwyn doesn’t really care that we’ve agonized over the who and the how and the what and where and why of all of this celebratory craziness. In fact, I’m pretty sure her eating the construction paper during our otherwise very serious and intentional craft time at the LRC was a direct message that she’s just kickin’ it with us for the entertainment factor.
But more importantly, we are weaving into the fabric of our family principles and habits that reflect a certain ethos of what we’re here for; an ethos that communicates the centrality of Christ’s love for us, on holidays and always.