I read a really good book this weekend - can't put my hands on it right now to tell you the title or author - but it was all about the orgins of Christmas and what the different traditions were about. Christmas has been a big topic for me over the past couple of years, and it was really interesting to read the historical data behind it. It echoed conclusions that I had come to, and made me feel a lot better about celebrating it as a Jewish convert. It was written by a Christian, and talked a lot about how mid-winter celebrations existed long before the birth of Christ, and that the bible only mentions the nativity twice. It certainly has enormous meaning to Christians, but it's okay that it has meaning for me as well, because Christmas is so much more than just a religious holiday. It's snowballed on top of mid-winter traditions, been re-created a whole bunch of different times and in different ways, from Charles Dickens and Queen Victoria to the poet who wrote the Night before Christmas and the invention of Santa Claus. Did you know, in Japan, a majorly not Christian country, Christmas is widely celebrated? Just because it's fun and meaningful and exciting to have a big ole celebration in the dead of winter.
All that being said... I'm happy that it's over. I took the tree down today, and am pausing in the middle of vacuuming up all the pine needles to reflect briefly on this past holiday season and what I liked most and would like to re-do, and what I think I'd rather skip next year. I really liked getting a smaller tree, and putting less emphasis on gifts. My kids didn't get a lot of presents under the tree - they both got one nice gift and a stocking full of odds and ends - and were perfectly happy with that. I have to remember that for next year. It's not about quantity at Christmas. Also I need to stock a LOT more candy canes. I loved staying at home and going to my mother's house later on in the day - it was a lot easier and less hectic on everyone. There's so much potential to stress out over the holidays - and it's not necessary. I made a concerted effort this year to not go down that road, and for the most part it worked.
In other news - can you believe that I'm going to be 24 weeks pregnant next week? That shocks me - it's more than half over, and while part of me can't wait to hold this tiny baby, part of me wants to slow time down - it's going by SO fast. Sam is still nursing every now and again - he asks a LOT, but it's more just habit than anything else. He's completely stopped doing it first thing in the morning, falls asleep most nights without it and with the exception of killer tantrums or if I REALLY need him to nap, he doesn't nurse at all during the day. We're not all the way weaned yet, but close enough so that I can pretend :-)