The other day I caught a comment about sorting postcards from a blogger friend, Ali. I completely misunderstood what she meant, thinking she was being super organised and bought and pre-wrote her Christmas cards in January (as she was putting all the Christmas paraphernalia away). She corrected me and told me about a lovely tradition they have in her family. I thought it was one well worth sharing and asked her to write a guest post about their special ritual:
I love rituals and ceremony and celebrating the passing of the year through small markers and pointers. Spring with its colour green marked by Easter and eggs, daffodils and hot cross buns; Summer with festivals and the smell of mown grass across the fields; Autumn with its spectacular leaves, smells of fire and conker matches in the playground; Winter with its snow, stews and crackling fires whilst snuggling under a blanket.
As a family we have created rituals around many things and at many times of year. One of our most enduring and eagerly awaited is the yearly reading and writing of our postcards at Christmas during the putting up and taking down of our decorations.
Since the kids were old enough to write they have included a postcard of their hopes and dreams for the coming year in each box of decorations put away and stored in the loft. We never share them as we write them but the postcards are picked out carefully by us all. Over the year we buy postcards at galleries, events we go to and simply when we see them and stash them in my special box and then we take our time to choose one which is special to us.
The cards often say more about our dreams than anything else. Choosing ones with words like “Make yourself at home. Clean my kitchen!” are obviously intended to talk about the sharing (or not) of chores, or a French film noir postcard showing Gracie’s fascination with France. We spend some time writing things down and then pack them away. The house reverberates with cries of, “have you done your postcard?”
When we put the decorations up we all sit around and read our cards. Everyone reads someone else’s rather than their own. My son Ted is renowned for getting everything right and predicting our year to come. He also makes us laugh by writing from past Ted to future Ted and saying things like, “go and get your Santa Hat to read this”.
Of course there are things on our cards like get fit and lose weight but there are also things about each other. We have recurring themes like Rosa getting more confident, Grace working harder and these days stopping smoking, me making more money and stopping worrying.
As a family we can see the progression of our lives in these cards, the things which were meaningful to us and the things we worried about which we can now look back on and no longer care about. We have great fun reading them and sometimes read them out anyway for kicks during the year. Rosa, my youngest didn’t like doing them at first but her latest ones are rebellious and funny.
So every year we will continue to dream, to hope and to care about each other in writing our postcards and setting our markers for another year. Unpacking our decorations will continue to provide not just excitement and anticipation over our favourite baubles but fun in reading out and reflecting on our past year. Packing away the decorations will continue to be done in a spirit of hope and anticipation of the year to come.
Ali has a background in Nursing, Organisational and Personal Development and General Management. Besides being a director of GTR Coaching LTD (a company using coaching techniques to facilitate online relationships for business and healthcare using social media) Ali is a business coach, guardian angel with Community and Business Partners and writes her personal blog- Leadership in Practice-, creates podcasts as well as contributing to regularly to a top US blog site. Ali has also published articles in professional journals and is a reviewer for Nursing Management.
Do you have any family rituals?