When I went to Western Washington University for a year, I had a wonderful roommate. Her name was Nicole. I mostly called her Nicolai. She was one of those very special people who moves through the world differently. Very shiny. She loved Monty Python. She could be insanely goofy in public. And our hearts were knitted together once and for all that year. She is a dear friend still.
Her family had some pretty fun and creative traditions. Sometimes they would cook a soup and call it Slumgullion. It was made with all the eligible leftovers from the fridge. And though the whole affair sounds pretty outside of the box for me, the unique quirkiness of it makes me want to sit at that family’s table and scoop up large spoonfulls of the wonderful, delicious, strange concoction. Someone needs to mark this tradition with a children’s book. Maybe it will be me.
A Magical Time
My favorite tradition from Nicole’s family, and one that I stole into my own family, is the tradition of Christmas Adam. Of course, Christmas Adam is the night before Christmas Eve. Adam coming before Eve and all that. On this night, the family sleeps together in the living room in front of the Christmas tree. There is another funny little part to it that I’ve forgotten after all these years. Maybe something about sleeping with shoes on? Maybe that’s another tradition entirely?
Anyhow, when my kiddos were small, and all through their growing up, we would sleep in the living room with the Christmas tree. It was a magical time. Of course, my body didn’t particularly enjoy the couch, or the floor, or the air mattress as much as my cozy bed upstairs. But these are the precious memories we get to look back on fondly. The stiff neck in the morning was worth it.
In addition to making marvelous memories, Christmas Adam was also very pragmatic for us. My then-husband and I both came from divorced families. This means that at the holidays, there were twice as many celebrations to attend. Thankfully his family lived in Minnesota and mine was in Washington State. Every other year we would switch between states but still, there were lots of celebrations to attend and we found that we really craved a little Christmas moment for just ourselves and our kiddos. Christmas Adam was our solution.
On December the twenty-third, we would open our stockings earlier in the day. I would always cook a dinner. Something outside the standard holiday fare. Usually something like spaghetti, chicken pot pie, or pizza. Then we would open gifts. That was followed by a Christmas movie. Everyone in matchy matchy pjs, with their favorite gifts, snuggled into the nest of blankets, pillows, and air mattresses in the living room. It was a wonderful tradition.
My last few years of Christmas Adams in Minnesota verged on the sad and lonely. Things got pretty rough in the household for a while. Then my fellas and I moved home to Washington. And moved. And moved. And moved again. It took some years for us to settle out here. Amidst all the hubbub of moving, we never had a chance to sleep in front of the Christmas tree.
Still, every December 23rd, there is much wishing of Happy Christmas Adam! It is a precious and sacred day to me still. Most years, we celebrate our little family Christmas together on this day. Like most families though, as the kiddos grow up into adults, new schedules and people and traditions need to be accommodated. So, we flow as we need to.
On this Christmas Adam, I wish you the gift of flexibility. I wish you the gift of being able to be honest with yourself about good memories and tough ones. To feel your feelings and open-handed, open-hearted release them into the universe as offerings of a good life lived. I wish you love and home, stamina and patience, as you move through the busy weekend ahead. Happiest of Christmas Adams to you and yours~
And if you are feeling less than festive this season, or full of Christmas cheer, or if you need some new traditions to move you into a safe and joyful season, or maybe you are excited to tuck into the tried-and-true traditions of years passed, let’s be friends~