Mindful | Holiday Traditions

MINDFUL | Holiday Traditions

What does it mean to be mindful of holiday traditions? Well, THAT is a loaded question. Let’s dive in, shall we?

There is an infinite number of holiday traditions that families practice in our own home towns, let alone around the globe. Many well-known holiday traditions include a brightly decorated evergreen tree, a nativity scene, a candelabrum and lots of food.

The question is, “Why?” 

FIRST, LET'S LOOK AT WHAT MINDFUL MEANS?

Being MINDFUL means “being aware.”  Sounds simple enough, right?  We are aware of lots of things everyday. We are aware of the weather to decide if an umbrella is needed when leaving the house. We are aware if the car breaks down. Well, because it’s difficult to be aware of much else when that happens.  Maybe not aware that it’s ten thousand miles past due on the oil change. YIKES.

Ok, you get the point. Now, back to the topic of being mindful of holiday traditions.

HOW CAN WE BE MINDFUL OF HOLIDAY TRADITIONS?

Being aware of our own family traditions and the traditions of others involves being open to learning and understanding the meaning, importance belief behind them.  Some traditions are connected to a major holiday that you’ll find on every calendar like Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa.

Each of these Holidays have dedicated symbols that embellish our homes this time of year. Some, we implement because they are pretty and some just for fun.  A few holiday traditions are wrapped around our belief system as a sign of reverence for a historic figure or even a miraculous event.  And let’s be clear, there is no bad time of year to be surrounded by lots of good food.

Throughout the generations, traditions are passed down or abandoned for one reason or another.  Sometimes we are told by our parents why we do things and sometimes not.  Like, why do we hang lights on our home? Why do we hang a wreath on the door?  For me, the simple reasoning that it’s pretty and festive has always been good enough.  I was raised in a Christian home, and the tradition of hanging a Christmas wreath has been something we’ve always done. In the Christian religion the wreath is known to be a symbol of the circle of life. So maybe the generations before me were acknowledging that symbolism. Or maybe my great great great grandmother just thought it was pretty too.

Many families create their own holiday traditions like going camping, learning about a foreign country or simply sitting around the fire sharing stories, ideas and laughter with a warming drink.

And again, the question is, “Why?”

Well, that IS the question we all can, and dare I say SHOULD, ask. Not only ask ourselves, but each other.

In winter, nature is shedding it’s leaves, stripping bare of all it’s fruitfulness from the year past to rest and make room for new growth. Human nature takes cue on this as well.  Many businesses have modified work hours and balancing books to close the previous quarters, ready to start anew. Families take vacations, or stay-cations (which are even better if you ask me) for some R-n-R to prepare for the new year.

LET'S START THE CONVERSATION.

Here at Bedtime Story Club, we are also taking the hint, and pondering on our power to be mindful. In this season of mindfulness, there is an opportunity to slow down a bit, reflect, gain understanding and embrace what has been, what is, and what could be.

I’m not going to continue on like I know anything other than the holiday traditions my own family enjoys each year.  I know the reasons and significance in the traditions that are at the core of my beliefs and values.  Yet, honestly, there are many traditions we practice each year that I don’t know their origin or meaning.  Are any of them wrong, misguided or simply not the message I want to convey to myself and others?  Maybe there are new traditions I want to explore and adopt. How would I know unless I ask myself, “Why?”.

So, let’s start the conversation. Let’s slow down and connect with the people we pass by every day. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll have less “why’s” this time next year.

Happy Mindful-days,

Aunt Becca

Children's Books & Conversation Starters

HOLIDAY TRADITIONS AND STORIES AROUND THE WORLD

The Very First Christmas

THE VERY FIRST CHRISTMAS | By Suzanne Berry

A gentle tale delivered in rhyme will charm young readers with the simple yet beautiful story of Jesus’s birth. Hallmark Recordable Storybook allows you to read to loved ones…..even if you can’t be there.

Mindful Moment:

Q. Why do you think that shepherds, kings and all the animals were so happy to see Jesus?

Eight Knights oof Hanukkah

THE EIGHT KNIGHTS OF HANUKKAH | By Leslie Kimmelman

Learn about the traditions and symbols of Hanukkah through this humorous and touching story the author crafts out of a bit of wordplay and a love for the holiday that truly shines.

Mindful Moment:

Q. What does the eight knights in this story of Hanukkah represent?

Li'l Rabbit's Kwazaa

“The story of Li’l Rabbit captures the true meaning of Kwanzaa—coming together to help others. Donna L. Washington’s story, with art from Shane W. Evans, provides a fun introduction to the holiday.”

Mindful Moment:

Q. Even though the little rabbit didn’t realize it, what gift did he give his Granna Rabbit?

HOME FOR NAVIDAD | By Harriet Ziefert

Rosa is ten years old and lives with her brother and grandmother in Mexico.  Rosa’s mama has been working in America to make money for their family. They have been separated for three years and what Rosa wants more than anything is have her mama home for Navidad.

Mindful Moment:

Q. How would you feel if you had to spend the holidays away from your family?

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS | By Clement C. Moore

Rosa is ten years old and lives with her brother and grandmother in Mexico.  Rosa’s mama has been working in America to make money for their family. They have been separated for three years and what Rosa wants more than anything is have her mama home for Navidad.

Mindful Moment:

Q. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? 

Printable Coloring + Activity Sheets

CHOOSE FROM 7 DIFFERENT DESIGNS

I AM MINDFUL OF OTHERS HOLIDAY TRADITIONS

During this season of joy and celebration we have an opportunity to experience the traditions that our families have passed down for generations as well as create new ones.

Many times these traditions tell a story – stories of miracles, overcoming challenges, and new beginnings.

What better way to appreciate our own rich family heritage than to learn about the Holiday traditions of others and the stories behind them.

In this way we can connect more fully with the people around us and embrace how diversity enriches our lives.

Ya never know, once you understand it’s meaning, you may incorporate an age old tradition in your own family festivities.

Storytime Line up | I Am Mindful

The fun continues with Storytime and discovering how to be MINDFUL.

Watch Storytime | Great Joy

Join Aunt Becca and friends is this luminous tale of a little girl who becomes aware of a stranger and a little monkey on the street. Can one small girl a few questions that turn a stranger into a friend?

Written by Kate DiCamillo | Illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline

STORYTIME  | December 2021

Watch the Trailer | Listening to My Body

“From wiggly and squirmy to rested and still, Listening to My Body helps children develop a sensations vocabulary so that they can express what they are experiencing. It includes kid-friendly activities woven throughout the book to reinforce the teachings.”

By Gabi Garcia

STORYTIME COMING SOON | January 2022

Watch the Trailer | We're All Wonders

“Now younger readers can meet Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face, and his beloved dog, Daisy. We’re All Wonders may be Auggie’s story, but it taps into every child’s longing to belong, and to be seen for who they truly are. It’s the perfect way for families and educators to talk about empathy and kindness with young children.”

By R.J. Palacio

STORYTIME COMING SOON | February 2022

Find all Storytime releases on our YouTube channel

I AM MINDFUL | Trailer

Life can be fast paced with lots of things competing for our attention. It may start to feel overwhelming and confusing like walking in the fog, making it difficult to see the beauty of the world around us.

This is how it can feel on the inside with our emotions.

Maybe you try for attention but it seems no one can hear you and no one can see you.  Did you know that you have a super power that will clear the fog so that you can see and be seen  – hear and be heard?

Being mindful means that you are aware of your thoughts, feelings and emotions, and that of others as well. Being fully present in the moment – this is your super power.

This season we’ll be navigating some areas in life that can feel like we are stuck walking in the fog. Together we will pack skills that allow us to see through the fog to the big beautiful world out there. When you use your power of mindfulness and being fully aware of yourself and others around you, the path that opens up in front of you will lead to connection, discovery and adventure!

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