SARAH SAMS writes:
Was it you or Lydia Sherman who suggested that women should spend their time and energy entertaining their own families? I know that I read it sometime last fall, because I took it to heart and began to plan and make every holiday or birthday extra special starting at Thanksgiving. We are a military family, and living across the country we miss out on most of the holidays and birthdays with extended family. It makes me sad that our children are not participating in the very same events that my husband or I grew up attending. But I was struck by the idea of entertaining for those closest to me, and boy has it lifted my spirits when a holiday approaches. I have had such a ball choosing a seasonal tablecloth and some lovely flowers, setting out the china, putting up streamers, or hanging flags to celebrate even though it’s “just us.” My husband has said more than once how he appreciates that I’m making things so memorable for the children. It has given us a sense of the rhythm of the seasons. Plus these highly-anticipated days have been exceptional opportunities to teach– the kids can’t wait to hear what it’s all about. So whether you said it, or I read it on Mrs. Sherman’s blog which you frequently link to, I am thankful for the very sound advice.
Since you have no choice but to be far from family, you can be thankful for the relative lack of complications.
The most important thing about holidays is whether one expresses a love of tradition, not whether everything goes right or whether everyone is in a perfect mood. Even if you are far from family, you can still be near in spirit to them. You can also be near in spirit to those who embraced those traditions in the past and those who will carry them on in the future.
I think both Lydia and I have made the same point about entertaining one’s immediate family.
The job of building and preserving tradition is the work of women. Holidays can’t be conjured out of kits. They take a lot of work.