At a recent party I attended, I found myself in a fascinating conversation about Christmas traditions and the emotional impact they have on us. An acquaintance told me how, when her mother recently died, the most important things to her and her sisters were their mother’s Christmas ornaments. Some of the ornaments had been in their family for generations, and many of them had special memories attached to them. The sisters were very careful to distribute them fairly, honoring as much as possible individual preferences, and any distinctive attachments each sister had to specific ornaments. She told me this story with such reverence and it was clear that the emotional connection to the ornaments and to the experience of having to divide them mindfully, almost sacredly, was powerful.
Since that conversation, I’ve reflected on how compelling Christmas can be, and how the traditions and material things connected to the season become such a part of the celebration. In our family, we have plenty of traditions and rituals for the holidays. This is only our second Christmas at The Livingston Inn, and I sincerely hope we have the opportunity to create any number of special moments here.
Last year, we adapted a tradition from the Harmans, who would place a full-size, lighted tree in each window of the home facing Gorham Street – seven in all. That’s not completely practical in an inn, of course, so we modified it, and instead place a beautiful wreath in every window and door. As I’ve mentioned, I always feel fortunate to live in such a beautiful space, but during the Christmas season, it is especially beautiful, and I feel particularly grateful.
We’re also thinking about the ornament idea, and a very sweet guest may have set us on the road to this kind of tradition when she generously gave us two dated, hand-decorated glass ornaments at a recent shower hosted at the inn. We love them – aren’t they beautiful?
So how about you? Any special attachments to specific Christmas-related things, or any wonderful memories that come out with the decorations at this time of year? We’d love to hear about them!